Wednesday, November 23, 2011
There are many things to be thankful for and I generally remember them each time I celebrate the Eucharist. In some ways, Thanksgiving Day is anti-climactic. But it still is somewhat of a harvest festival.
Our foundational celebrations in our faith were pilgrimage gatherings. The Hebrew Scripture notes three such celebrations: Unleavened Bread which developed into Passover, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Booths, both agricultural celebrations. They were ‘national’ fetes in which all traveled to Jerusalem to present themselves before God, to sacrifice and give thanks for all they had been given and then to feast on the animal that they brought for sacrifice. These feasts were generally the only time they ate meat all year.
Today, we generally do not think of Thanksgiving as a sacrifice unless our family is hard to be around. But we generally do offer gifts of whatever we can make. We seldom go to dinner without a gift even if it is just a bottle of wine or sack of dinner rolls.
These days Thanksgiving is just the feast day before Christmas shopping begins in earnest. We seldom think about how our feast got to the table and agribusiness so outstrips the intimacy between the people and the land that it is easy to forget how dependent we are on Mother Earth.
Thanksgiving is at the heart of our faith. It is a primeval celebration of what it means to be human on this earth—to be grateful for all that sustains us. The Creation is made to be fruitful and we are made to give thanks to the One who created all. May your Thanksgiving be a time to reunite you with the soil (adamah Heb.) and mud from which we were created.