The Thanksgiving Holiday can be engulfed in feelings of fear, anxiety and pressure. These feelings are the effects, like over pressure from an explosion, of a divisive culture. Gathering with family members and friends who don’t see each other often can seem to tear open old wounds as the friction of disordered relationships rub upon one another until blood is drawn.
Without dismissing the reality of this experience in many families, I think it is informative to look at the intent of the Holiday and the transformative nature that it can have on our culture. The etymology of the word culture comes from the Latin word, cultura, which means “growing” or the “tilling of land”. Later in 1867, this word was used to describe the idea of “collective customs and achievements of a people”.
We gather on this American holiday to give thanks for the many blessings that we have been given and it provides an opportunity for generational factions within your tribe to come together and share the customs and achievements which enrich the culture of the family.
These customs are usually passed down around the dinner table. We can probably all call to mind our favorite dish that a family member makes or a famous recipe that is widely known within our family circle. It is precisely through this labor of love and the sharing of food that we come to share our achievements, failures and sacrifices over the past year which enhance the flavor of our family’s culture and helps it to flourish.
We can look at this holiday as an opportunity to share your new found desire for “real food” and mesh it with other favorite family recipes in order to knit together the fabric of a growing and vibrant culture. Don’t get stuck in the trap of keeping score and judging one another this Thanksgiving, but rather look for ways to till the soil of your family so that it will grow.
“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live” – St. John Paul II
“Put on the Armor of God” (Eph 6:11)