Thanksgiving is the purest, least commercial holiday on the USA calendar (though the encroachment of retail sales to Thursday is disturbing). It reflects four universal human experiences: First, gratitude for a harvest that sustains life for another year. Second, the centrality of shared meals: whether fancy or simple, there is something special about the table with family and friends. Third, a hospitable welcome for people of all cultures. From Squanto to an exchange student, mutual love and respect grows around the table. And fourth, our need to thank the Almighty and celebrate the bounty provided for our flourishing.
This year, A.D. 2019, the Thanksgiving Table takes on new significance for our nation and our world. What if millions of homes open their hearts and tables for peaceful celebration and conversation of topics other than impeachment and elections? What if around the Table, conversations were more personal, more encouraging, and focused on making neighborhoods stronger, with more opportunities for the marginalized?
What if Thanksgiving history is shared, with the miracle of the Plymouth settlers meeting an indigenous friend who spoke their language and respected their God (and helped them survive)? What if we cry and laugh over what really matters?
This year, let’s host tables of inclusion and joy, lingering over delicious food (football can wait), and grateful for the warmth of faith, hope, and love? Political problems, football games, and great retail sales are ephemeral. But the people we love and the new friends we make are eternal gifts.