November 18, 2018


Every year I ask myself, as I write this column: “What can I say that is new about Thanksgiving?”
I try to think of a different angle or some profound insight that will enlighten us all. As I was thinking last week, I realized that with all the changes that take place technologically in our everyday world, and the need we have to make everything “new”, what I value about Thanksgiving is the “tradition” or, to put it in other words, my belief that Thanksgiving never gets “old.”

What a privilege we have of continuing this family holiday every year. Our table is never the same from year to year, as we sadly say goodbye to those previously at the table, who have died; and at the same time, welcome new faces to the tale as our families expand. To acquaint our children with the tradition of Thanksgiving, with the understanding that they will continue this custom when we are no longer present, is what it is all about. The venue may change as new generations begin to accept the responsibility and privilege of hosting Thanksgiving. For example, when my parents were alive, it was always at “our house,” but as their health failed, we moved the celebration to my sister’s home and I’m sure that one day one of her children will open their home for the Thanksgiving holiday.

There are certain traditions that I value, and there may be others that I no longer cherish. We’re all different. What I value most about Thanksgiving is my knowledge that this “holyday” is not celebrated by any one religion or culture in our country, but by every religion and every culture. You could call it the “generic holiday.” Naturally, those who believe center their Thanksgiving around God and how grateful they are to their Creator. But those who do not believe continue the tradition as well, but center their Thanksgiving around loved ones. Either way, it is the one holyday (holiday) that features valuable moments sitting together at table, enjoying a meal and having conversation with three or four generations. With all the distractions in our world, we consciously decide that we will travel the world on this weekend, to spend time with those we love at a table that, unfortunately, is no longer the center of our family life. In a real sense, we don’t want the tradition to change, we don’t want it to become “new,” we want to remind ourselves of the way it was for families in the past when supper was a “family affair” almost every night of the week.

The staff of the Blue Hills Collaborative wishes all of our parishioners, neighbors and friends the best as you celebrate Thanksgiving surrounded by those you love.

Enjoy Life!

Fr. Coyne


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