Thursday, November 25, 2004

Thanksgiving Seder

Josh Claybourn posts this charming idea for Thanksgiving Day.

In the Agora: Thanksgiving Seder:

On the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims were brimming over with gratitude - not only to the ninety Indians who had surprisingly joined them, but to their God. In Him they had trusted, and He had honored their obedience beyond their dreams. So, Governor Bradford declared a day of public Thanksgiving, to be held in October.

Because of the unexpectedly high numbers in attendance, the Pilgrims prayed that they'd be able to feed such a large crowd without cutting too deeply into their winter food supply. As it turned out, the Indians did not arrive empty-handed. The Indian chief had commanded his braves to hunt for the occasion, and they arrived with no less than five dressed deer, and more than a dozen fat wild turkeys! [Present the turkey.]

The Indians helped with the preparations, teaching the Pilgrim women how to make hoecakes and a tasty pudding out of cornmeal and maple syrup. [Present cornbread and other such stuff.]

Then they showed them an Indian delicacy: how to roast corn kernels in an earthen pot until they popped into something fluffy and white. It was the first popcorn ever eaten by Westerners. [Present popcorn.]

The Pilgrims in turn provided many vegetables from their household gardens: carrots, onions, turnips, parsnips, cucumbers, radishes, beets, and cabbages. Also, using some of their precious flour, they took summer fruits which the Indians had dried and introduced them to the likes of blueberry, apple, and cherry pie. [Present pie.]

It was all washed down with sweet wine made from the wild grapes. [Present alcohol.]

Special days are occasions for families to convene and renew bonds, but Thanksgivings sometimes reach beyond the family. This is a time to invite neighbors who may be isolated, or anyone whose Thanksgiving might be lonely. I remember a special Thanksgiving when we were privileged to host two American Indians, college students, who couldn't afford a round trip home.

It's also a good time to build bridges. But that last part of the seder, about the alcohol, may not always be appropriate. This year we are expecting a struggling, wayward family member who has been living out of his car. It's a stretch, but hopefully he can find something for which to be thankful.

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