At 6:30 this morning, I got a call from the Chair of my Buildings and Grounds Committee. He was worried about the amount of water we are getting here and asked if I would run over to the church to make sure the undercroft had not flooded overnight (as his basement at home had). Luckily I was dressed, but our family was in the morning flurry of getting showers, eating breakfast, and making lunches. I had hoped to sneak over to the church quietly, but as soon as my daughter found out what I was doing, she wanted to go too. So we rushed to find her shoes and raincoat, I rushed to grab an umbrella, and we ran out the door. About half-way to the church, I realized I had forgotten the church keys. As I quickly tried to rush my 4-year old back to the house, I realized that my lack of church keys meant I also had left my house keys inside the house. Of course, my husband was in the shower. Needless to say, there was lots of doorbell ringing over the following five minutes. Ah, the joys of a crazy, scattered priest and mother.
For this and so many other reasons, I am tremendously grateful that my husband suggested we take this Thanksgiving to just have a quiet holiday alone. As an extrovert, my immediate response to his request was a bit of sadness and wistfulness – Thanksgiving is supposed to be about loud families or friends and yummy food. But then I remembered how for the last several weekends in a row I have had multiple church commitments, how last week alone I had three night meetings, and how my husband I have felt like ships passing in the night these last several weeks. I knew the wisdom behind his request, and so we have gathered a much smaller amount of food, and have plans to just be together as a family this weekend. Well … and maybe clean the house and unpack some baby stuff. But at least we are doing that together!
I know for most of you, Thanksgiving is not really about quiet and retreat. That may feel like a foreign, if not uncomfortable, concept to you. But even if you are planning to gather with your loud Uncle Joe or your nagging mother-in-law, I hope that you will take a moment to take a little breath, and remember in the quiet what Thanksgiving is really about. Maybe you invite your family into prayer before the meal, maybe you invite everyone to share something they are grateful for, or maybe you just do your own self assessment of the bounty surrounding you on every side – of food, of shelter, of clothing, of laughter, of a God who loves and cares for you abundantly. And if that is the only breath of thanksgiving you can afford on that day, then you have taken a sip of the pool of thanksgiving available to you. And if you are thirsty for more, find a church holding a Thanksgiving Day service, and give yourself an entire hour of this kind of thankfulness. It may be the greatest gift you give yourself this holiday season.
St. Margaret’s Church celebrates Holy Eucharist on Thanksgiving Day at 10:00 AM. All are welcome!