Sunday, November 20, 2011
Sunday Afternoon Tea
While I love the glitz and glitter of the Christmas Season, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the tradition, the food, and the very images it brings to mind (not to mention the scents from the kitchen). Except for Independence Day, Thanksgiving is the most American of holidays (okay, Canada has its' own Thanksgiving, too).
I loved the time we were homeschooling the early years and we would take a break from our usual studies to spend time with the Pilgrims and the Puritans and the other early settlements of our country. What better time to talk about the quest for religious freedom and the Christian foundation of America... not done perfectly, of course... by men and women with sinful natures... but at least with an intent to honor God.
This will be our first Thanksgiving alone as our son will be out of town celebrating the day with his fiance and her family. We have come a long way from the time we were newlyweds at my in-laws, through the years of traveling with one child to the in-laws each year, having another child join us much later, and then family Thanksgiving celebrations at our home after my mother-in-law passed on.
How quickly the years pass, which is why I have such a passion about traditions and the importance of passing down a legacy to the next generation. We don't realize as time is passing... hour by hour and day by day... that the opportunity to share what is important must be accomplished in our everyday life... that "precept upon precept" way of passing down what we know and love to those for whom we will pass the baton of family life.
Especially for those of us who hold to our faith as the center of all we do. Those who know there is Someone to give our thanks. If we allow the society in which we live and the media that is constantly bombarding us with its' images to become the teacher of our next generation... how will they learn what is important to our family... to our faith... to our heritage?
This may be the Season which inspires one to write the family stories and share the recipes and call the elders still among us to tell us accounts of times past. I love tying on an apron and putting together a recipe which I can remember my mother making... and to know a thousand miles away there is a little girl helping her mother (and paternal grandmother) make the traditional recipes.
If we wait for the perfect time then we will look back and realize the children are grown and the elders not with us to share the recipes and the stories and the laughter. There are no perfect people and (outside of a Norman Rockwell painting) no perfect families. But there is quite a lot one can do given the limitations of imperfection to create memories for family and friends.
I've been reading through the prayers in Valley of Vision these past few days which have such a Thanksgiving feel about them (as they were written by Puritans). At one time, sitting in a crowded McDonald's on campus and reading prayers from the long distant past... looking around and wondering how many of the young people were still taught the wonderful stories of bravery and faith in a time we need heroes.
Is my Thanksgiving perfect? Far from it! But lessons learned from the past reminds me there are many things to be thankful for even in the midst of an imperfect life. It isn't Heaven, yet... but our attitudes of thankfulness in the midst of the imperfect bring a little bit of Heaven into our life when we need it most.