But I, with a song of thanksgiving,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
Salvation comes from the LORD."
As we head into the holidays, I've begun to teach a new series called Signs of the Season. There are fascinating 'stories behind the stories' of Thanksgiving and Christmas, deeper details that let us see glimmers of the Lord in the traditions and tales of these times. I thought for today's Selah I'd share with you the first in the this series, an exploration of the first American Thanksgiving and what true thanksgiving looks like.
About ten years ago, I was hosting Thanksgiving Dinner for my extended family. I had cleaned the house from top to bottom, scrubbed the base boards, pulled out the good china and crystal and ironed the linens. As part of the place settings, I had the kids make parchment scrolls, tied with rafia, that told of what they were thankful for in the lives of each of our guests. The blessing was intoned, the napkins unfolded, the scrolls untied and we began my storybook Thanksgiving scene.
Except for my second child, 2 of 8. She was about six at the time and even at that young age, was a stickler for details, a trait she carries to this day. She was seated next to Mike’s precious grandmother, Grammy, who was decked in full Thanksgiving finery, from her autumn leaf earrings to her harvest-inspired chic outfit. 2 of 8 kept looking up at Grammy throughout the prayer and reading of thanks and then hopped up, disappearing back into my bedroom. She reappeared a few seconds later with a pair of tweezers in her hand, reclaimed her seat next to Grammy and proceeded to pluck a hair from Grammy’s chin.
That had not been part of my super party planning. At all.
Grammy, with her usual blend of class and humor, said that she was thankful for someone who had the courage to not let Grammy sit through Thanksgiving dinner with an un-groomed hair sprouting from her chin.
And so another Thanksgiving memory was laid.
That first Thanksgiving we remember from 1621, when pilgrims from England had a potluck with Native Americans in the New World, likewise had many unexpected elements. We’ll be learning about the real story behind that harvest feast and the lesson it carries for all of us as we head toward Turkey Day.