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.


Rebecca said...

Such a fine reminder to be intentional in our thanks and creating memories NOW -- not waiting for the perfect time and place...

Mrs.Rabe said...

"but our attitudes of thankfulness in the midst of the imperfect" I love this thought.

I timed our studies of early American History this year to be near the first Thanksgiving at this time. I want the children to recognize just it took - what personal sacrifice it took - to build a place where they could teach their children the ways of the Lord, without the official church making them criminals...they were always looking ahead.

That is why I think you and I love the traditions so much - it is a way of building into our children and grandchildren a 'vision' for what is important...

Well, I've written you a novel today!


Jeanneke said...

Amen! Thanks for sharing.
Sending blessings,


Nanna said...

Beautiful post, I have that image in a puzzel

Vee said...

What good words for this Sunday before Thanksgiving. I have once again allowed the holiday to zip up on me without proper preparation. I had hoped to have a book for the grands telling the story of Plymouth at a child's level. It'll not be here in time and so must be saved for next year. Perhaps we'll play "stool ball" instead and approach the history/our story that way. And I am realizing, now that Thanksgiving meal preparation is upon me, that I have not asked the questions I should have been asking and it's too late.

Hope that your son and his bride to be will be home for some part of the holiday to enjoy a pot of coffee and some pie. Does this mean that Christmas is yours or that next year is yours? It can get complicated!

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your husband! It is one of my favorite holidays too and it was so easy to slow down when I was a child (the 60's) as everything was closed! I remember one year we ran out of butter but mom just ran to a neighbor :o) Could you tell me the source of the lovely picture above this post? Blessings, Dee

Anonymous said...

Here in Canada Thanksgiving isn't as much about the nation's founding.It's mostly a time to get together with family and give thanks for our many blessings.

You're right. It should be more about thankfulness and memories than perfection.We don't really have space to set up a big fancy table like in the magazines, so we just serve buffet style with table cloth covered card tables to extend the space and enjoy the company.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

You are so right, right. Flexibility is the name of the game. Hubby and I will be with our children nearby, and grandchildren here too, this year. But most holidays we are not with them...Hubby's dad is coming out, maybe for the last time, being he is quite old. But so long as Hubby and I are together, we find ways, simple, laid back ways, to enjoy a holiday, whatever it is.

Blessings on your day together...when you are alone you can do exactly as you two would like and that could be fun too!!
Elizabeth in NC

SUGAR MOON said...

Enjoyed the post. Thanks for sharing.

matty said...

Have a wonderful, Thanksgiving! You are good to remind us all that we are blessed. May you be, as well!

Anonymous said...

I am certain you are one of the most precious women on earth. Thank you for the blessing your sharing brings me. I think and pray for you often. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your husband and I'm praying the Holy Spirit fills you both in a beautiful way.

Jill, CA
mommy of 6

Anonymous said...

Could you please tell me the name of the artist in the picture you used for this post? Thanks so much and Happy Thanksgiving.

Storybook Woods said...

Beautifully said Brenda. I only have a few years left with the girls at home and am holding onto every precious second. Clarice

Susan said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you - I hope your day is just lovely with a yummy meal and quiet moments by candlelight. I am living in a country where Turkey is very expensive, so I will not be making a proper Thanksgiving dinner, but I'm thankful just the same -- for my friends, my family - and for blogs like yours that are a personal blessing to me. Thank you :-)