It takes a lot of work to enjoy Thanksgiving. That sentence reveals that I am viewing this national holiday from one particular point of view. Right? Obviously, I am not the young child who will be called to the dinner table to “chow down” on all the goodies that someone else prepared. Obviously, too, I am not the honored guest for whom the banquet has been prepared. NO. I am ‘The Preparer’. I am the grocery-buyer, pie-baker, turkey-cooker, dressing-maker, table-setter, meal-preparer. And as I already said, “It takes a lot of work to enjoy Thanksgiving.”
Years ago, my mom was the host of the annual family Thanksgiving meal. She planned the menu and did most of the cooking. She always assigned me the pies. Somewhere between my teens and adulthood, my grandma taught me the art of making a flaky pie crust. And, when grandma entered the honored guest status, I was the next in line to be the pastry chef. I would bake a traditional pumpkin, a pumpkin chiffon with praline crust, an apple with a lattice crust, an apple with a crumble topping, and a lemon meringue. For many years, that was my contribution to our family meal. Turkey, dressing, and all the sides were thanks to mom.
Then the fateful day arrived when mom announced that she was ready to move to the honored guest status. My heart was thrilled to think that my sister, my brother, and I could repay her for all her years of feeding the clan, which had grown from a small two-parents, three-children, and one-grandma clan of six to three sets of married children and their children for a clan of over 50. No wonder she was ready to pass the tradition to the younger. It takes a lot of work to enjoy Thanksgiving.
My sister, who is the oldest of my siblings, decided to take her rightful place in the birth order in which authority should flow. Without hesitancy and with great conviction, she decided that she would pass and the I could be the new Thanksgiving family meal host. She appointed me to take mom’s place. My graduation day from pie baker to all around banquet maker had arrived. And with one retirement from my mom and one abdication by my sister, my reign as ‘The Preparer’ began.
Years have passed. Grandma has passed. Mom has passed. Many a Thanksgiving Day has passed. Many things have continued. Mom had a copper electrical skillet in which she always made the sweet potatoes. I still use that. The dressing recipe has passed down through at least four generations. I still make that. The wish bone breaking ceremony between the oldest male and the youngest boy is a steadfast tradition. The winner, who is the one with the big end of the bone and who is always supposed to be the child, will make his wish. I still insist on that. And our time of prayer is undoubtedly my most cherished continuing tradition.
When mom was ‘The Preparer’, she established the giving of thanks in prayer because her mom held that the main purpose of the holiday was remembering to be thankful. From grandma to mom to me, our family still practices thankful prayers. We thank the Lord that He has graced us to live in a nation that offers a chance for liberty. We offer praise for family and friends. We express gratitude for all the many benefits that the Lord provides for us. And – above all – we give glory to the Lord for salvation that is ours because Jesus did the hard work and became ‘The Preparer’ of the way to eternal life. Jesus prepared a table and welcomes us as His honored guest. Thanksgiving is possible because someone does the hard work, and the giving of thanks is our proper response. As we do each year, this year our family will again worship. I invite you to join in that most cherished of thanksgiving traditions.