When Thanksgiving is just outside our doors, and the aromas of deliciousness start to fill the home, it’s tempting to start thinking in terms of “Turkey Day,” which is CERTAINLY a tradition to be thankful for! But traditions along the lines of the holiday as a time of truly giving thanks have been a part of religions and cultures around the world since time immemorial. As we talked about in church, the ancient Israelites celebrated multiple harvest festivals each year in ways similar to our Thanksgiving, but virtually all peoples everywhere across time, too, have recognized the importance of regular celebrations for remembering and being thankful.
Closely related to celebrations to remind us of how important it is for us to express our thankfulness, is the related theme of hospitality through which blessings are shared with others. And have you ever noticed that often it is those who have the least who tend to be most thankful for the blessings they DO have, and most motivated to share through hospitality with others?
I noticed in my own life when I was growing up, it was in some of the darkest times when my dad in his early recovery introduced hospitality traditions that are still a part of our family traditions today. At Thanksgiving in particular, but other holidays as well, my dad would find some other poor lost soul trying to put their life back together and with no place to go, to come and share in our blessings, meager as they sometimes were. Over the years we have also usually welcomed those whose situations need a little help.
I’m so proud to say in recent years, our kids have started getting in on these ways to be a blessing. For several years, it’s been our son who has been bringing in those who need extra blessings over the holidays, and even the extra cats we’re caring for these days, are not just our watching Kaz’s cat, but poor lost cat souls from one of Kaz’s friends that wouldn’t otherwise have a place to stay.
What traditions have you and your family developed to share the blessings this time of year? I’m always eager to hear and help celebrate! And if you’ve not developed such traditions yet, it’s never too late!
Sharing the blessings—Rev. Jim