The biggest meal of the year.
I find it crazy the amount of food we gobble-gobble up on Thanksgiving. But there is something so ingrained about it, isn’t there? I was watching an old movie the other day and they mentioned the Thanksgiving meal: there was turkey and ham and stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy and cranberry, too. For all the dishes that come and go, the menu doesn’t stray too much. Even when we get crazy and add Cajun or Mexican sides (or even go vegetarian), it is pretty hard for most people I know to do away with these traditional fixings all together.
My own very cosmopolitan and trend-setting children by day, at Thanksgiving, are among the most traditional in their desires. They will gather here today, Dave and Tara and Hunter magoo, Steph and Tris and the three Kelley kids (Guini, as always, will have first dibs on the wishbone), Tredessa and Ryan (this is their first Thanksgiving as a married couple, because the wedding was 2 days after Thanksgiving last year). Rocky and Jovan and the 2 little girlies will be here and Stormie and Saber-the-German (Shepherd) and The Garcias and Leif (Ryan’s younger brother) will join us, too.
And as I stood at the counter this morning chopping vegetables and mixing ingredients in a quiet, sunny kitchen (Christmas music drifting in from the room where Dave is rearranging every piece of furniture we own to accommodate our little table for 23), I just found myself loving that we go to the trouble anyway. There is something in the ritual of it, in fixing this huge meal that reminds us of the sacred and sweet and all the blessings we have had and all the blessings that will come to be. And it is just this bountiful moment in time to thank God for all of it.
In everything GIVE THANKS for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5. 18
And standing there, knowing we will have more than we need to eat and eat too much, I remembered all the Thankskgivings of my life (there have been more than 50, now) and how the crowd has changed so much. All the Grandmas and Grandpas are gone now. Some of the aunts and uncles have passed, too. I remember thinking as a kid they were all trying to starve me to death because the meal was never ready “on time,” but when finally we could eat, ooooooh-delish! Then later: mommy, my tummy hurts, I ate too much (Tara was 4 the first time this happened to her). How glorious to have all the pumpkin pie I could ever want (and my mom always made THE BEST pumpkin pie, until Stormie came along).
I thank God for it all, the family I was born into and all the times they crammed all of us into tiny house with tables and tables and food and we ate all day long (pre-microwave, people!). Mostly at Grandma Bakers, we also met Aunt Sue’s once. But Aunt Rosie’s quite a bit, too…Aunt Rosie introduced me to the romantic notion of one very long table for all of us eat together – no kid table! I am doing that for my grandbebes now. They like it! And I love that the aunts and uncles and all the cousins would descend from near and far because even though we were wall-to-wall people, the importance of all of us together saying “Thank-you, Lord,” was valued. Stop life and say thanks – this was the message imparted to my heart. We may not have a lot, we are just regular people, but we are blessed and we say thanks to You, Lord.
Oh my, in spite of their humanness and mistakes and oddities as a family (plentiful, for sure), oh how I cherish the fact that they all helped me settle on the solid foundation that is Jesus Christ.
Then there were the years the extended family times dissipated as grandparents died, and my siblings and I, with our growing families, would gather with my parents (the new matriarch and patriarch). The last time were all together for Thanksgiving was 1991, I believe. That era ended too soon as we were living all over the nation, but we’d always touch base and today I think of each of them with so much love my heart actually hurts. Happy Thanksgiving, my brothers (by birth and the one we got when my sister married you) and my little sister and all my beautiful sisters by God’s design (and marriage to my little brothers). Happy Thanksgiving to the nieces and nephews and to the whole big, colorful family I married into. Be blessed, I decree it.
And how blessed and grateful I am to get to have this Thanksgiving feast with my own babies and their families today. The little cousins will file away so many details of this day as trivial: running up and down the stairs, playing dress-up, maybe coloring and painting together or playing a board game. They will eat and eat and be back in an hour for more. They will go home totally unaware that in 40 or 50 years they will be standing at their kitchen counter assembling food on a sunny morning for a Thanksgiving meal for their beloveds and suddenly the memories in sharp detail, of being at Nonna’s house so many Thanksgivings past, will suddenly rush back in “like waves upon the shore” and they will, like I am today, thank God for all the Thanksgiving Thursdays family gathered just to show gratefulness. And they will know that is it good to give thanks unto the Lord.
Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your mighty acts to all who are to come.
Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
you who have done great things.
Who is like you, God?
My intent in writing this blog, when I began it a thousand words ago, was to say this (I am so wordy, huh?) in ONE paragraph: Happy Thanksgiving, from our family to yours. Like all families, the treasure must be guarded and tended like a garden to make sure it lives and thrives. We are just normal people with issues and oddities, too. But today, we gather in His name to tell Him we are grateful. This foundation is firm. So, I pray you will be blessed and happy in all things today, just as I am praying for my family.
I simply cannot help being so graphomaniacal. Just can’t. xxoo