Save a Little Thanksgiving

There were no leftovers to contend with this year. No reason to scour Pinterest for innovative recipes disguising the remaining turkey, no staying up late with the turkey carcass simmering on the stove bubbling over with a sizzle on the burner, no pie pulling me into its pumpkin or pecan goodness. It’s not that we ate ourselves into an exceedingly more embarrassing stupor than the previous years, we just were guests this year, making a quick trip to be with family in Austin. I like leftovers – especially the frozen cranberry salad, and the assortment of pies and other desserts that seem to vary year to year. The holiday meal preparation--which can span several days-- is so wildly out of proportion to the time spent eating the meal, even if Grandma makes you take time to go around the circle and have everyone name one thing for which he or she is grateful, and leftovers allow the aroma of Thanksgiving to linger.

There isn’t much else that lingers about Thanksgiving, especially as Black Friday now has its start on Thursday afternoon, and has us trading our cornucopia for a cart full of consumerism. Jolting us from an interlude with abundance back into our love affair with scarcity. From counting our blessings to counting our packages.

The season of Advent in the Christian church is upon us. It is a time of great expectation, waiting for the promised Messiah to come. A time of longing for the light to appear in a world of darkness. A time to welcome with joy and love the Christ child into the world and into our hearts, and welcome with joy and love the people He loves. And it comes on the heels of this time of thanksgiving, which seems to me most appropriate. Gratitude is a precursor to hospitality. Without hearts that humbly acknowledge the gifts they have received, there is no room for others. If we hurry through this period of thankfulness, in our eagerness to celebrate the coming of Jesus, our hearts may not have room for that which accompanies his arrival. If we don’t linger in the aroma of the leftovers, the celebration of Christmas may elude us.