Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving Rituals

For the first time in 30 years of marriage, we will have Thanksgiving in our own home. All the other years we have traveled to be with family gatherings. This year, however, I’ve just had minor surgery and while I could travel, my girls seized the opportunity to insist they would cook our Thanksgiving meal. Under Cynthia’s guidance in the kitchen, I’m confident the meal will be excellent.

But the change of ritual makes me wonder what it is about the Thanksgiving holiday that so tugs at our hearts. I don’t believe it is the desire to be “thankful” for a day. People either live lives of gratitude or they don’t, and a holiday isn’t going to change that. No, the power of Thanksgiving has to do with our common longings.

Our individual celebrations may have little to do with the idealized scene of sitting down at a bountiful table to share a meal with family and friends, but we still want it to be true, if only partially so. We want there to be a place we can come home to, a place where we are welcomed without question. We want there to be a seat set aside for us, where we are expected to be present. And we want the assurance of plenty for all, a fullness of food, joy and fellowship.

These longings are good, God-given, I believe. For they point us to the one place they can truly be fulfilled, the table of the Lord. The image of the messianic banquet (Luke 14) stands silently behind our idealized Thanksgiving tables, and the One who has prepared all things for us desires us to know the fullness of life only He can provide.

Thanksgiving will be a busy time for many people – filled with travel, hunting, cooking, parades, shopping, conversation, work, and who knows what else, as we try to fill our hearts. It is right to stop and give thanks for the blessings we enjoy. But I wosnder if our longings and gratitude can lead us to the presence of Christ, the all-sufficient One.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rev. Taylor, Thanks for the nice reminder about what Thanksgiving is all about.
I am a coach and Impact Team leader at Sumter
Christian School. I wanted to pass on to you an
that I believe many of your teens would be
interested in: National Hoops(a
national/international nonprofit Christian 3-on-3
basketball tournament) will be holding a tournament at
Sumter Christian gym on Dec. 1st. I can testify of
the great spiritual impact National Hoops has had on
teens and how well this tournament is run because I
was a part of the National Hoops staff in 04-05. As
the Gospel was being preached, many teens who attended
the tournament accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior
and others rededicated their lives for His service.

The tournament is for young people ages 13-19. The
winner of each local tournament will qualify for a
regional tournament. The winners of the regional
tournaments will play on Center Court in a Pro
Basketball All-Star interactive event and those
players will receive tickets to the All-Star Game in
Phoenix, Arizona.

I have included all of the information that you can
pass on to interest your students in coming to play in
the 3-on-3 round robin/double-elimination tournament.

The National Hoops Ministry website is the following:
If you have any questions please call me at:
(803) 905-7699

In Christ,
Laurance Kannon