OK Pilgrims, I Get It
Thanksgiving for me has always been about 2 things: Food and Family. As a child, my extended family would gather at our house, my mom would get out the fancy china to eat on after spending the day cooking, we would enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal and time with our family.
As an adult without my extended family near by, I still have kept the focus on food and family, just a little differently. Some years I catered a dinner because I didn't enjoy spending an entire day cooking and that fine china was replaced by paper plates because I prefer not to spend an evening hand washing plates. I added on to my version of Thanksgiving of having everyone go around the table and say what they were most thankful for this year. Verbatim, I would always say my family.
Yesterday, my kids were watching the classic Charlie Brown Thanksgiving movie in which the original Thanksgiving story is reenacted with Peanuts Characters. As juvenile as it is, it made me reflect on Thanksgiving. Those original pilgrims were celebrating going through hell and finally catching a break and coming out on the other side. They had spent their first months here starving, losing loved ones and exposed to the elements (nobody informed them they should have arrived in the Texas) and I imagine them eating this meal thinking, "Thank you God for this moment, finally having hope for the future and for this tribe of people that surrounds me and supports me."
So Pilgrims, I get it. I have a much deeper gratitude this Thanksgiving after my recent health events on what it means to be surrounded my family. I understand what it is to go through a difficult time and come out the other end of it and see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. I understand the necessity we have to rely on the tribe in our life. I've always relied on myself to handle everything, but this year really taught me I needed the friends and family to step into my life to get me through a difficult time.
I can imagine those pilgrims feeling great solidarity with St Paul and saying "Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice (Philippians 4:4)", and today, despite having to work tonight, that's what I will do. I rejoice and am thankful for the Lord who provided me with my own tribe to celebrate a deeper meaning of thankfulness this Thanksgiving.