Our most American tradition – celebrating the year’s harvest and blessings – is once again upon us. Thanksgiving is a holiday that Americans can historically claim as our very own. Does that mean that other peoples before us were ungrateful? Not by any means. But IT IS OURS, the one day on the calendar that evokes a melting pot of commonality, culture, and deep emotions; encouraging a nation of immigrants to give official thanks for the many blessings and bounty we share in our land.
I submit that while holidays can be difficult at times, maintaining some or all of the family traditions can be especially comforting; let these rituals provide the familiar landscape wherein each of you can still participate, even if the role is slightly amended from years before. If need be, add a new tradition. I suggest:
The “Talk Turkey” Challenge:
- Give yourself permission to share a story that you’ve never told before; grandparents, this means YOU.
- Encourage all ages to join in the conversation. Keep the technology at a minimum (football games excluded)
- Don’t pull rank; parents often do, then wonder why the kids never talk. Embrace the ones around you; life is too short to let a minor grievance ruin the holiday camaraderie.
- Allow a bit of silliness! (Not necessarily at the expense of table manners, but you be the judge; lots of family stories evolved from dinner tables in past years; try not to shudder.)
- Fight over the last drumstick; cajoling a sibling into a little childhood skirmish can be fun, especially if one or both parents or an aunt or uncle are still around to watch and laughingly reminisce…
- Consider each new happenstance a future memory; find the humor in it and laugh together.
- Look into each face around the table. Observe the personality nuances and mannerisms. In as brief a span as five years, table personalities will change; children will grow, friends will leave the area; family branches will sprout afar.
- Can’t travel to be together this Thursday? Just wait until the next time you can all regroup! The possibilities are endless!
Growing up, it was easy to take the Thanksgiving holiday for granted; November was a happy month, the start of the Holidays! Some of us matured rather abruptly once we saw our president assassinated; we all remember where we were, who informed us, and the immediate days after when, as a grieving nation, we gathered that next week to celebrate Thanksgiving. Many of us remembered only a little boy saluting goodbye to his daddy.
The old adage, Death has no age, was suddenly meaningful; it is this year for some whose loved one will be missing for the first time this Thanksgiving. The holiday season can be a particularly painful period.
The coming months present some economic challenges for many; some earners last year are currently unemployed and find themselves in a completely different scenario than the last time they hit the pavement. Hitting a keyboard can be just as frustrating.
Thanksgiving will arrive just the same. This season, keep our fellow countrymen in prayer. Choose how to make Thursday one of the sweeter Thanksgiving Days in recent memory. May we forever feel a depth of gratitude for the lives and goodness He has bestowed upon each of us.
Rejoice! Celebrate! Praise God! Lastly, may God Bless America.