Lately, I’ve already been thinking about ‘the holidays.’ About this time every year, I begin to exchange emails with the folks that I’ve been spending Thanksgiving with for nearly 25 years to make arrangements about what dishes we’ll be preparing for the annual feast. Most years, I bring the pies and the corn pudding and make the giblet gravy when I get there – as I excel in all those delights. But this year will be different.
As I reflected some more, it occurred to me that since the beginning of this decade, we’ve become progressively more accustomed to the disruption of our routines and rituals than we ever could have imagined back then.
About 10 years ago, the month after the 9/11 attacks, the following appeared in Time magazine:
“Thanksgiving has always been a feast day for the gods of paradox. It's an ordeal to travel and yet we do; family reunions can be wildly stressful and yet painful to miss. It was invented by a bunch of Puritans who celebrated freedom by throwing a party, and so bequeathed us a holiday both secular and sacred, with parades and prayers that dare us to reckon with all that has changed, and recognize all that has not…
The first Thanksgiving in 1621 was born in paradox. About half of the 102 people who traveled from England to America died before summer. Yet after that first fall harvest about 50 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans chose to give thanks. This is the kind of holiday we need right now, a holiday of paradox that comes at the end of a bitter harvest and yet finds something sweet to celebrate." (Nancy Gibb, Time Magazine, November 2001)
Thanksgiving feels like that to me this year. It seems more important than ever to give thanks, recollect our blessings and find ways to share our gratitude and our gifts with others so we can both bless and celebrate. This year, it seems to me to be especially important to find ways to keep track of my blessings and find different ways to give thanks.
I’ve already thought of one way: I’m starting a ‘blessing bowl’ on November 1st which I’ve put next to my coffee maker with a pad of sticky notes and every morning I’m going to write one way I’ve been blessed or have blessed someone else until Thanksgiving day. I plan to read through them while I’m waiting for the turkey to finish cooking. If you have any ideas to share, I’d love to hear them. (Text: 215-285-9106; email: email@example.com)
Stay safe, stay healthy.
Pr. Mary Konopka