OFTEN WHEN ASKED to name a special
family time, people’s responses cluster around meals: Christmas dinner,
birthday parties, a vacation cookout by the shore, a wedding banquet. Their intuition
is sound: these special times are also sacred times. What better day to
celebrate that connection than Thanksgiving?
It’s a holiday designed for thanks
and feasting (though turkey and football have become a cultural accretion). The
first pilgrims who celebrated it were simply glad they had survived a
precarious ocean crossing in 1620 and had harvested enough corn to carry them
through winter. They were grateful—not for a blissful, pain-free experience—but
for the presence of God in whatever circumstance they met.