By Amy McCollom
It used to be met with almost as much fanfare as Christmas. Thanksgiving was THE holiday in November. There was an excitement in the air. Thanksgiving cartoons, television commercials that would tug at the heart, a lot of planning of menus, and seating arrangements for the big day. Some people would travel across many miles to gather together for the Thanksgiving feast.
Thanksgiving meant watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television while the house filled with the aromas of roasted meat, spiced desserts, hot apple cider, and fresh baked rolls. The afternoon was less busy, as the men settled into the recliners or stretched out on a sofa to watch the big football games. Lifeless people could be found around the house lying on beds, or sitting awkwardly in chairs, having succumbed to food comas. At that moment, all was right with the world. My belly was full, my family was surrounding me, I was in a warm house, and I was very, very thankful.
But now, Christmas decorations hit store shelves along with school supplies and Labor Day coolers. Halloween has become a bigger ordeal than Thanksgiving. You can find a ba-zillion spiders, but try and find one nice turkey for your table. Acorns and squash and pumpkins and squirrels and Indian corn are pushed to one tiny shelf in a lot of stores. It is like there is no November at all. Thanksgiving has lost its purpose and value in the mindset of America.
For some families, holidays are difficult to handle. Brokenness, scars, hurt, sorrow, grief, loss, anger, are all brought to the forefront of the mind around holidays. I think about my mom, and other people I know, who have lost a spouse or parent this year. The holidays will never be the same again. But that doesn’t mean they will never be good again.
Time, such a curse and a blessing, changes everything in each of our lives. There are perfect moments that you wish could never end, then there are parts you would not re-live for a million dollars. Our lives are so rich, colorful as the changing Autumn leaves, but bare and cold at times too. But if you look for the beauty in the details, you will find it. Even icicles are beautiful when the sun hits them. We all find what we are looking for, so look for the good.
We can’t have the same Thanksgiving as last year. There will be people missing from some of our homes. We can open our eyes to things that are still beautiful, start a new chapter, or a new tradition. We can mend and not destroy. We can come closer instead of further apart. For when nothing material or trivial or frivolous on this earth matters any more, and we will all face a day like that, and we realize that all we have is each other anyway, and that is all we ever had. On that day you will realize that each other is all you ever really needed or wanted anyway. Close family connections ARE that important. That is why we need Thanksgiving.
Let’s make this month a New-Vember, instead of a No-Vember. Every day we either plant or pluck up. Keep planting good seed, even if you have to do it alone. It will grow. Get excited about simple things again, and watch as that enthusiasm spreads like pumpkin vines.
Shake up the mindset that has settled on you.
Rake up the old dead thoughts and debris that you let hang around in your mind.
Stake up those newly planted ideas and hopes of starting a new garden of joy in your life.
Take up all the fruit you will see produced because of your efforts to change your thinking.
I pray that each one of us ends up with a bountiful harvest of love, joy, and thankfulness.