From Rev. Tim White of Trinity United Church of Christ, Quincy.
It is that time of year when thoughts turn to raking leaves, turkey dinners, vibrant fall colors and the sentimental, “perfect” lives that none of us have. It is easy to become disillusioned and cynical about things when bills are stacking up, people you care about are struggling, and the upcoming holidays are just another reminder that your life hasn’t turned out the way you wanted it to turn out. As the November winds bring a chill to the air it also brings a chill to many hearts.
I had a conversation with a neighbor recently who told me her Thanksgiving was ruined because her whole family wasn’t going to be together. She told me her children didn’t like each other and there just wasn’t anything to be thankful for. I listened mostly and didn’t say much, but I thought “You and your husband have enjoyed almost 40 years together, your children and grandchildren are healthy and talented and productive and you have nothing to be thankful for because your children don’t want to gather at your beautiful home and pretend that they are “The Waltons” how sad you think like that.
Thanksgiving is in no way about what we have. It doesn’t matter if you sit down at a beautiful table that belongs on the cover of Bon Appetite or if you sit at a table made out of a couple of saw horses and wooden planks and eat chili. When we make Thanksgiving about celebrating all that we have, we make it into a “food sacrifice” to the “gods” who have smiled down and given us all that is on our “wish list of life”.
Thanksgiving is not a day of the year. Thanksgiving is not dependant on a menu with turkey and dressing. Thanksgiving is not predicated on having all your family get along one day a year. Thanksgiving is a condition of the heart that transcends the circumstances of life. Thanksgiving that doesn’t grow out of deep gratitude for God isn’t Thanksgiving after all!