Thanksgiving is filled and fraught with tradition. When you think of the traditions of Thanksgiving that were part of your life 20, 30, 50 years ago, what has changed and what has stayed constant? The people change as loved ones and friends come in and out of our lives through death, birth and moving. Even the food may have changed for some as families blend and bring their special dishes.
The changing of our cherished traditions can be disruptive. “It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without….” Fill in the blank. Our Thanksgiving celebration has changed over the years. We’ve hosted only once, camped a lot and been to my Dad’s and his wife, Marilyn’s. There’s always turkey, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, green beans prepared in a variety of ways, etc. The constant is gathering over a long meal that takes a lot of prep and a long time to clean up with people we don’t often get to see.
Churches in our country remember Thanksgiving each year, not because it’s a holy day in our calendar, but because it is a holy reminder that we are called to live from a place of gratitude. Thanksgiving resonates with our conviction that all we have and are is gift from a generous Creator.
Congregations across our country are facing disruption, regardless if they are seen as traditional or contemporary in their worship style. The practice of gathering with people over the sacred meal of communion is more and more an anachronism, a relic for many people. Regardless of the traditions around which we gather at Christ’s table, the constant we share is the welcome of God in Christ, the hospitality we experience through the grace of God. It is a constant worth keeping and worth sharing with people who still do not know how deeply and richly they are loved. It is a constant worth keeping and sharing so people can come home to their true home in God.