Thanksgiving is next week and it is one of my favorite holidays. It’s a special day when we feed those we love. Most years we spend Thanksgiving at home, the four of us, and it is a relaxing day without places to be or stresses to be taken on. Some years have been really challenging, depending on the curve balls of life, but the routine of the day largely remains intact.
Thanksgiving in the Early Morning
I wake up early and put cinnamon buns in the oven to bake while getting the stuffing going and turkey prepped. In the living room the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade goes on and tired kids wander out to watch and wait for those cinnamon buns to be done. Michael and our kids watch the parade, shouting out to me about all of the balloons going by and the Broadway performers. Michael, a drummer, takes particular interest in the marching bands and we are always so impressed with them. (One year our nieces even performed in the parade with their dance troupe, Sayat Nova Dance Company!) I spend all morning running back and forth from the kitchen to the living room to watch my favorite parts of the show, in between cutting potatoes and basting the turkey.
After the parade, we tune in to the National Dog Show. That’s my favorite part of the day. It’s just so much fun to watch those beautiful, sometimes funny, dogs circle the ring. Of course, we make the same jokes every year about the different breeds, pick our favorites in each group and get excited for the Shih Tzu to make her/his appearance. It’s right about then that we scoop up our own Shih Tzu, Charlie & Maisy, and remind them that they are the best in show, always and every day.
By this time the house smells like Bells Seasoning. (by the way, there is no greater seasoning for Thanksgiving turkey. You could never change my mind!) Emma and I carefully set the table with my mom’s china and somehow dinner makes it out with most dishes still hot. Grace is said, with a focus on praying for those who are struggling, alone and/or hungry. Everybody piles plates high with their favorites and nobody is judged for the extra scoop of mashed potatoes or extra stuffing. Christian eats too many crescent rolls. The dogs beg and succeed. All is well.
Thanksgiving Later in the Day
As the day continues with the afternoon football game, and night brings pie and ice cream for dessert, I rest in the joy of feeding my family and give thanks for how they fed me too. Clearing the table, packing leftovers and the kids watching the dog show when they were in their teens and maybe didn’t care all that much. That is how my people feed me on this day, year after year.
Preparing this meal is an act of love and service to my family. It is the one day during the year that I can feed them with a feast made with love and thanksgiving; one gently coaxed out of me by the Holy Spirit’s urging. He knows that I am not as much of a fan of cooking as I am of eating. I do not pore over creative recipes and find unique dishes to make. The secret to my stuffing? It’s Stove Top. There, I said it. And I feel better too.
Actually, while I’m confessing: my rolls come from a can I need to pop open and my green beans are frozen. Every year my gravy is hit or miss so jars are on standby. I do make my own cranberry sauce though and my mashed potatoes are pretty close to amazing.
But my family loves this meal.
Thanksgiving Isn’t About the Food
This meal, this feast that has nothing to do with the type of food being served, is one of the most nurturing because of the love that is poured into it. This day is about giving glory to God for the immeasurable blessings bestowed upon us, for the grace we so dearly need, for the people we serve.
Feeding those we love.
Adding chairs to our table for those without loved ones.
Even shopping for donations so others can have a meal filled with blessings.
That is how we walk in love on Thanksgiving.
So as you and your family prepare for the special traditions, recipes and even brace yourself for a day with a person or two you struggle to love, remember, “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17 NIV)
I would love to hear about your holiday must-haves and must-dos. I would even like to learn some new recipes, as long as they don’t replace my Bells seasoning and Stove Top.