November 26-27, 2016

Friends,

I realize this is the weekend following Thanksgiving and I hope all our families, neighbors and friends celebrated this true Holy Day surrounded by those you love. This is my favorite day of the year. I am not so convinced about the history behind the holiday because as more and more “history” book are written, we are forced to rethink and reimagine how 1620, the Mayflower, Pilgrims, Native Americans and Plymouth Rock interacted.

But whatever President George Washington intended and proclaimed the first Thanksgiving, and President Abraham Lincoln acknowledged by declaring a “day of Thanksgiving” we continue the tradition in the 21st century.

I am a purist when it comes to Thanksgiving Day because I believe whether people believe in God or belong to an organized religion or claim to be an atheist, they are gathered around a table in Thanksgiving for what and who they have in their lives.

I am a believer and a Church person so I focus my attention on God’s goodness and the opportunities I have in my life. What better place to celebrate those gifts than at a table with those closest to me. The table itself is an inanimate wooden object that has become less and less a staple of the American family. But on Thanksgiving it is the Star of the day. It is about conversation, telling stories and sharing memories of those who no longer grace our tables with their presence; it is about 3 or 4 generations sitting together and learning from each other’s life experiences. We begin with salad and end with dessert. It is one of the few days in the year that I actually eat with my family (Christmas and Easter included) and we do begin the meal with a prayer.

I also understand the high school football tradition on Thanksgiving morning and enjoyed that aspect of
Thanksgiving for many years. What troubles me is the professional football games on Thanksgiving Day around which many families now plan their dinner. They plan to eat either before or after a game (or maybe at halftime). I believe it takes away from the priorities I mentioned earlier. The beautiful aspect of this one day is that it is not meant to be hurried. We live our lives 364 days a year being “in a hurry” I hate to see it on day 365. 

I also suggest that whoever hosts the Thanksgiving Dinner requires that everyone at the table leave their smart phones, etc. in another room as a sign of the respect they have for those at the table. The controversy this request can create will be an indication of how our priorities have changed. Try it! Lead by example!

Enjoy Life!
Fr Coyne

 

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