Thanksgiving revisited


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Traditions can spring-up after one-time-only outings.  Traditions seem, to me, to be something that we want to repeat together, on our own, with someone special – or all of the above.  Tradition is (usually) a good thing.

And over time the reason for tradition is lost.  So the tradition includes a recap of the tradition’s source.  Or else the reason for the tradition becomes blurred and forgotten.  And the tradition become something it never was.

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The way we do Christmas is a tradition.

No telly.  No grumps.  No hiding away.  Just all our family locked together in the house for one day and evening.  Drinks and games.  A meal and chatter. Then drinks and games and more chatter.  It’s exhausting!  It sounds grim!

And sometimes it is.

Over the years our family have become their own families.  Over the years internet and smartphones came along.  Board games and cards not so much.  Over the years our family grew-up and older.  Over the years we have good years and bad years.  Over the years we have had some with and without all the family.  Over the years we have checked the tradition – invited change – tested whether it is fit for purpose – whether this one day of the year (and evening) still “works”.

“Yes – and don’t change” has always been the answer.

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Thanksgiving soon for the nation that appears rock solid from the outside but is as dysfunctional and fractured AND loving as any “family”.  Thanksgiving is a tradition.

I watch with amused curiosity all the elaborate different elements different families have.  From outside I see a fractured time-worn and outdated tradition.  One that serves political and patriotic purpose much more than individual purpose.  But it is not my tradition.  It never will be.  I will always be an outsider to Thanksgiving.

Just as all of you will always be an outsider to our Christmas tradition less than a month down the road this year.  I am glad we don’t have Thanksgiving here.  It’s like a practice Christmas just before Christmas – too much the same logistical-hassle for my liking.

But what do I know?

And – as with Christmas – I see the sniping of Thanksgiving traditionALISTS.  About how it’s not what it used to be – how it should be preserved – how its purity of meaning needs to be at the forefront … All that stuff of tradition – of being “thankful” for one day only … Of (supposedly) everyone reading from the same page – and with (allegedly) the same interpretation – and the same (NOT) conclusion.

Just like the bible.

Why? 

Why must we all “get with the programme” when the programme is of Love?

Love is the reason for Christmas … Thanksgiving … the bible … families gathered together (dysfunctional or not) … Love is the tradition we value and cherish and share each time we gather.  Love is of each other – not for the tradition itself – the “tradition” is only the vehicle.

Thanksgiving is a political event in its origins … Christmas is a pagan event in its origins … The bible is a mish-mash of so much that is not of God in its origins … Yet Love is threaded throughout each … Love of something bigger than the next Black Friday bargain …

Love of something bigger than just me – whether or not every detail is how I like it or not.

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When we all sit around our Christmas table we have vegans, vegetarians, baby mash, carnivores, picky-eaters, fussy eaters, don’t-eat-that-this-year-but-do-eat-those-this-year.  We have believers and non-believers.  We have those who have families and those who have not.  We have those who travel miles and those who are just too far away yet are present still.  We are a mish-mash of our tradition’s source so many years ago.

Because we are REAL family and REAL people every day.

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We are people who Love each other no matter how that is expressed or not.  Real people who choose to gather together locked in our home for just one day and evening.

I think the tradition is choosing Love. The rest is ritual over Love.  Just like the bible –

And biblically-correct “correctionALISTS”.

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