Once upon a time, Thanksgiving was easy. It was a celebration of the harvest, an ingathering of the family, a time of prayer and reflection, a feast to be remembered all year long.
Today, most people do not have their own harvests to bring in. Family members are flung to the far corners of the globe. Those who do make it around the family table bow their heads and wonder what to say. What prayer is just right for the Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Atheists that may have gathered around the table together?
And the meal… well, it can become a point of contention for the vegans, the vegetarians, the macrobiotic eaters, those on low-carb diets, family members with food allergies…. the list goes on. Sometimes it just feels easier to stay at home with close friends and make foods that are familiar and comfortable.
There’s no doubt times have changed. And, I must say, it makes me a little sad.
I believe that we all can try a little harder to bring tradition back into our lives, to pull together family at the holidays, to pray in a way that honors all paths, and to prepare an amazing meal that accommodates all needs. This is not the Appalachia (or America) of yesterday, but is the one that I wish for as a tomorrow. I hope to do my part to make it happen. How about you?