And for the morning's pleasant light
For rest and food and loving care
And all that makes the world so fair.
Help us do the things we should
To be to others kind and good
In all we do and all we say
To grow more loving every day.
It's been a almost a month since my last blog post! Yikes! I completely missed the boat on writing about Martinmas, but this is how it is when we have busy lives with our children. I'll get to it next year.
The verse above is something I found a few weeks ago from who knows where (my aplogies to the un-named source here), altered slightly, and used as our Thanksgiving blessing. For the whole week prior to Thanksgiving, the children and I worked on memorizing it. At our holiday mealtime, we recited it before we ate. It was very sweet and heartfelt.
There are so many meaningful holidays this time of year and it can be challenging to present them all to the children with a feeling of importance. Some touch us deeply and others...well, not so much. Thanksgiving is one of those holidays for me that, quite honestly, I could do without. It is supposed to be celebrated as a harvest festival, but by the end of November, the harvest season has already come to a close. And besides, we celebrated the harvest (on time) with Mabon and Michaelmas. It seems artificial and redundant.
Historically, in the United States, the details of the "first Thanksgiving" are vague at best, and a far cry from the gluttonous practices of today's holiday.
And of course, there's the food issue. I'm a vegetarian, and we are raising our children as vegetarians. The mention of "Turkey Day" makes me cringe on several levels. First of all, isn't this supposed to be a day of, you know, giving thanks? It is about the huge meal for most, and seems to have lost its meaningfulness in a big way. Secondly, I don't like the idea of a celebration being centered around the dead bird on the table. This is not to say that there are not people who have meaningful celebrations of thanks that happen to include a turkey as the main course. I just think it's sad that it seems to be the focus of the holiday.
For the second year, we had Thanksgiving at our home. Last year it was a lovely, quiet meal with just my husband, the kids, and me. This year some family members joined us. I was determened to have the holiday hold some meaning for my family beyond the opportunity of a huge (albeit turkey-less) meal.
So the kids and I chose our mealtime blessing, made place cards for the table, pored over countless recipes, and otherwise made our house welcoming to our guests. We read stories with a common theme of gratitude for what we have (excellent preparation for the upcoming Christmas season, I might add). I even sewed up a special dress for my daughter, complete with matching doll outfit. These all seem like little things, but to the kids, who were involved to the best of their abilities in the planning of the big day, it built up a sense of anticipation and excitement.
When our guests arrived, my husband and I had just begun cooking. Shortly thereafter, the kids were happily occupied playing with their uncles and we were able to get a big meal on the table with minimal interruptions. This in and of itself is a cause for celebration!
So while I am thankful today that Thanksgiving is over and we can move on to Advent this weekend, I am happy that I was able to insert even a little meaning into a holiday that I previously loathed.
This year I am thankful for my children, who make me search deeper for meaning in every way, and for helping me find the positive aspects of just about every situation. For this, they have my unending gratitude.
Oh, and in case you're wondering, here's what we ate:
Autumn Green Salad
Pumpkin Mousse and Gingerbread Trifle