Today is Thanksgiving, so as I sit here watching football and enjoying the aroma of turkey, stuffing, and pie, I feel a little obligated to write a little something about the day. I really do love Thanksgiving. When I was a kid, we would always go to my grandparents' in Ohio for it, and I remember getting up each time to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and then all these people would come over for the meal, and there were mashed potatoes abounding and Coke overflowing, and it was generally just a baller time. Now we just have Thanksgiving here in Kansas, which is still good. I still like the parade, though today I missed it because I slept till noon. Whoops.
Of course, the focal point of Thanksgiving is the feast. In a country where food is often treated like a god, Thanksgiving is like the chief Holy Day. In a few hours I'm going to pile my plate with all sorts of viddles, and then I'll top it off with some pie and spend the rest of my evening watching basketball.
Along these same lines, something that Thanksgiving does make me think about is the special place that meals possess in our lives. There's just something especially significant about sharing a meal with people. It's kind of an odd thing, maybe, or at least a little mystical. But think about it. Often, when people go on a date, they go to dinner. When there's a wedding, there's a meal. When families gather, there's a meal. Meals are where things happen. That's where people connect. It's where important things get said. The table is maybe the most important piece of furniture because that's where people get together to talk and relate and laugh and fellowship.
And that's what I love. When it comes to food, I don't have very high taste. I'm just as happy with chicken nuggets from Wendy's as I am with anything from a nicer restaurant. So when people are going to a "fancier" place (which, in my book, means that there's a waitress instead of an ordering counter), the food itself really isn't worth $10 or $12 dollars to me. However, getting to spend some quality time with the other people going is worth that, so that's why I go. At the heart, meals aren't really about food. They're about people. That's why, at Ozark, mealtimes are my favorite parts of the day. It's not because the food in the dining hall is so mouthwatering, but because that's where people are. I love being at those big long tables just listening to people talk and laugh. It's a joyful thing.
In Life Together, Bonhoeffer writes, "The fellowship of the table has a festive quality. It is a constantly recurring reminder in the midst of our everyday work of God’s resting after His work, of the Sabbath as the meaning and goal of the week and its toil." It's easy, during the day, to feel bogged down by everything that's going on in our lives. To feel stressed out or frustrated. So meals restore us; not only does the food refresh our bodies, but the fellowship refreshes our spirits.
One last thing. Whenever we're back in Topeka on a break, the Charlie, Jim, and I make it a point to have lunch at Spangle's. The food is delicious, and it's pretty cheap, so it works great for me. I love eating there, but it's more than that. When we're done with our food, we always end up staying there for at least another half hour. I think we've been pretty close to two hours before. And it's not like we have a ton of stuff to catch up on; we live with each other every day when we're at Ozark. But there's just something about being there with one another. And I value that highly.
So enjoy your Thanksgiving. Eat a lot. Spend time with your family and friends. Thank God for what he's given you. Pray for those in need. And take it all back with you, making it a part of your life. I don't think there's any reason to only be thankful and enjoy others' company over a meal once a year. Let's do it every day.
28 days till Christmas.