Thanksgiving Traditions - by guest blogger, Lorri

>> Thursday, November 24, 2011

Today’s blog is written by my daughter, Lorri, who is home for Thanksgiving 

Macaroni and cheese. Cupcakes. Beef jerky. Nachos. Chips and dip. What does this food list cause you to imagine? The inventory of a convenience store? A football-watching party? A group of teenagers raiding the refrigerator for a late-night snack? While all of those scenarios would qualify as plausible guesses, you might be surprised to learn that those are some of the foods served during our Thanksgiving dinners throughout the years. On a day which often emphasizes deep-rooted traditions for American families, the Thanksgiving holiday has been remarkably untraditional for us in regard to the menu.  

For as long as I can remember, guests have always been invited to join us for Thanksgiving. In an effort to encourage others to feel included in the celebration, we have always allowed each person who attends the dinner to choose one menu item to be served that day, regardless of what it is. Often, our guests are quite surprised when their requests are honored, as they have never experienced a family that dares to defy tradition in such a bold manner. WHAT? No stuffing, gravy, or mashed potatoes?? Brownies instead of pie? Chicken and noodles? You can almost hear Peppermint Patty, in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, berating Charlie Brown for having the audacity to serve toast, pretzels, jellybeans, and popcorn for the Thanksgiving feast. You call this a Thanksgiving dinner? Apparently, there is a Thanksgiving manual in existence that clearly outlines acceptable menu choices. However, like many other manuals and guidebooks throughout history which have defined respectable behaviors as determined by a group of closed-minded, legalistic individuals, my family has blessedly chosen to dare to be different. For that, I am thankful!  

In many ways, our approach to the Thanksgiving meal parallels our approach to life in general. Include others. Question motives behind decision-making. Don’t allow yourself to be controlled by unwritten rules which limit creativity and self-expression. Advocate for what is important to you regardless of the opinions of others. Dare to be an individual! The other day I was discussing our Thanksgiving tradition with a friend who seemed incredulous in regard to the prospect of going outside the boundaries of tradition. “Come on,” I challenged, “think outside the box!” I was told without hesitation that this would be impossible in her family, and that although she envied our free-spirit attitude, she would never be allowed to deviate from what was expected of her.  

Today, as you sit down to a wonderful meal, I pray that you are blessed through conversations with friends and family, as it is our relationships with others that are more valuable than what is on the menu. If you can touch the life of another person, and make a difference in their life, it doesn’t matter whether you eat turkey and mashed potatoes or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. May God bless you and your family today and every day!  

“Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.” Matthew 15:2 (NLT)  


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