It is my favorite time of the year. It’s finally here! Turkey, football, green beans, football, sweet potato casserole, football, deviled eggs, football, cranberry sauce and football. To me, there has always been something unique and special about Thanksgiving Day. It isn’t so totally commercial as most other holidays, including Christmas. It still focuses on getting together with people we love most, sharing food, watching football, talking and watching that holiday classic that will be shown on TBS at least 12,000 times between now and the New Year, “A Christmas Story”, in which the story of Ralphie and the Red Rider BB Gun never gets old.
Travel? You bet! Whether you plan to drive or fly, this week, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving will be the busiest travel day of the year. Even with the hassle of traveling, people want to be with parents, siblings, cousins, and best friends.
Food. Ah, yes! I saw turkeys flying out of the Food Giant in Guthrie yesterday – but not one, of course, under its own power. They will be cooked, basted, adorned, side-dished, devoured, sandwiched, and turkey-saladed (?) over the following few days. Everybody will claim to be “sick of the stuff” by the weekend.
Truth be told, however, even the griping about eating turkey in so many creative combinations is part of the tradition. Gathering around a table, praising the cooks, smiling at one another, and joining hands to pray – it is the beginning of the warm and bonding events that affirm everyone called to the circle.
And the talking. Above all else, there is conversation that ranges from reminiscing about persons now missing to excitement over fiancées, newborns, and pregnancies being announced. Family narratives are told yet again for the sake of burning them into the memory of the youngest and newest to the table.
Our stories make us who we are. They define a family. Reaffirm its values. Challenge the newcomers. Enshrine the dead. Help people realize that what has kept them apart is far less important than all the things that bind them together.
As you get ready for Thursday, then, be thankful for Thanksgiving. Without setting a list of expectations, prepare yourself simply to be present – really present to those with whom you will spend the day. Affirm them. Reconnect with them. Join with them to be thankful for God’s presence and blessings.
If you are looking for something to do during this Thanksgiving Holiday, let me give you some options….. Watch Georgia vs. Georgia Tech; Watch Alabama vs. Auburn; Watch Notre Dame vs. USC; Watch Kentucky vs. Tennessee. Whatever you do this week, be THANKFUL!
God bless and go Cats!
Rev. Scott Murphy is the Pastor at the First Christian Church in Russellville.