"I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers."
These are some of my memories of Thanksgiving. Elementary school years saw the evolution from cutting the outline of our hands to become turkeys, through construction paper pilgrim hats and native headwear, pumpkins, and ears of corn that we colored, pressing until the yellow wax of the crayon had become part of the paper corn! Sometimes, depending on grade level, teacher, and paper stock, we’d copy a Thanksgiving poem from the front board. In the early grades, it was often just one word describing what we were thankful for. Although the art projects had disappeared, and the copied poems were not encouraged; in junior high school any mention of Thanksgiving went in the direction of our country’s creation of a national holiday on the fourth Thursday of November. And the ever-present joy of knowing that when you left school on Wednesday, you did not return until Monday of the next week!
At whatever hour the family meal was held on Thanksgiving Day there arose from the table, talk of “what we were thankful for”. Some years there were levels of anxiety around lumpy mashed potatoes, thin gravy, or uncooked yams that brought on memory loss around the blessing prayer itself. My mother being who she was always tried to save the blessing before our meal with some words of comfort around “just being together” being the blessing. Then there were those Thanksgiving dinners where we were either hosting friends or family or were the guests at someone’s home. Those times we, as the line goes, we “were playing it by ear”.
Somehow, despite the anxieties, the forgetfulness, the rushing, and the unknowns; I never spent a Thanksgiving not feeling welcome and blessed.
This year among the many things I hold in my prayers of gratitude are the memories of those Thanksgivings past. Never anything like a Rockwell painting or Hollywood production. We were fed by those who loved us. Not just the meal set upon our plates. We were fed by the love of the many who were our family, in lineage and in love.
Prayer: Holy One, every day is an opportunity to hold gratitude around the many gifts we have. Let us give thanks for all we receive in our lives, the obvious gifts, and the hidden revelations of your Light in our world. In thanksgiving. Amen.