Post Thanksgiving Day Meanderings

by Impact Church

We all know the drill, but let’s assume our Thanksgiving kitchen counter-tops of sliced turkey, sweet potato casserole and green beans, possess a far richer sense of what the fourth Thursday of November supposedly provides. And that’s not to say our buffets and dessert bars are unappealing. No sir! Cause when you see folks pushing chairs back, loosening belts, asking for coffee, and promising to do better next week– well that’s ample evidence folks are enjoying some sweet, sweet times! And that’s as it should be! So, long live Thanksgiving Day!

Also, it’s heartwarming to see families sacrifice time, travel and resources so cousins, aunts and grand kids can connect and reunite? Hugs, hellos and high-fives are all around! And even in the driveway (I mean just getting out of the car or unloading the baked chicken and potato salad!), there’s a festive, care-freeness about that day that compares with no other. Seems Thanksgiving Day, hands-down, brings the friendliest atmospheres for family get-togethers!

And what about the picture taking frenzy that coincides with the arrival of the baked turkey and cranberry sauce? Seems there’s chatter, smiles and arms wrapped around shoulders that are conspicuously absent at other similar gatherings. Personal schedules and logistics may hinder an extended family’s closeness, and petty personal differences may unnecessarily create apathy and distance; but there’s really something special about Thanksgiving. Seems whatever distance and difference families may experience during the year, they simply fade away at the thought of Thanksgiving. Could it be then that Thanksgiving holds special relational, restorative, even therapeutic powers in bringing families together in love and harmony?

Personally, Thanksgiving Day has a flair like no other holiday, and it seems life records even the smallest memories of that day in a special vault. There’s the obvious things we remember like the scrumptious meal, the animated conversation, football on the screen, the even rougher game in the backyard, the brotherly joshing and camaraderie, the inevitable group pictures, the extended prayer before chowing down, the grand kids, tractor rides, target practice, deer hunts and the unabashed, family-wide giving of thanks. (And did I mention the second and third trips to the pie section?)

But then there’s also other things less obvious but even more edifying and memorable- the pre-planning crew decided Thanksgiving Day would be a politics free zone; and surprisingly, next Monday was never mentioned the whole day; talking shop and work stuff never got off the ground (PTL!); there was a lot of remembering of the good times; the grandparents were well honored and loved; nobody was offended about gifts cause no one brought one or expected one; and cherishing the moments so much, we promised we’d never let next Thanksgiving Day be the next time we gathered! And, on a side note, there’s something divine about lingering in the parking lot saying bye to everybody! That’s a hype-free, feel it in your heart, kind of love!

So apparently, the simplest signs of love readily appear when we’re intentionally being thankful. There, we forget what’s trivial, we forgive what’s hurtful, and we forge forward with hope and love for a family’s future! And folks, from my vantage point, that makes Thanksgiving Day the greatest of all family traditions! That day isn’t about a special person, special event, special accomplishment, a gift or special day; it’s about everyone of us uniting with a special awareness of unmerited grace and goodness; first towards God, and then towards others. And from that universal sense of indebtedness, we reciprocate with appreciation and thanks for all that makes life beautiful.

What if we understood the concept of thanksgiving was a rewarding privilege, not a dutiful remembrance? And what if that kindred spirit found at Grandma’s house on Thanksgiving was available all year long? And actually could be at everybody’s house if we took the time to genuinely love and forbear one another? And then understand how caring for one another one day at a time for the sake of unity is one of life’s greatest rewards? And everybody cook elaborate dishes without the first tinge of complaint? (Is that one too much?)

Ah, I’m in love with Thanksgiving!

I think I’ll have another one tomorrow!

Who’s with me?