our thanksgiving

We stayed home for Thanksgiving this year, our 2nd annual California Thanksgiving. Both years, we have been graciously invited to share the meal with friends. This year, our friends that were hosting us, came down with some sort of stomach bug that we felt we just couldn't subject ourselves to... regretfully, of course. So the night before Thanksgiving, Brian and I found ourselves in Safeway, searching for the staples to a decent family Thanksgiving meal.
And... we pulled it off, broken down old oven and all. (our oven cooks on 400* or higher. it's nice.) We made turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, croissants, cranberry sauce, and gravy.... sounds classic, eh? Thanks to Trader Joe's, we also started off with sweet potato bisque and a cranberry/blue cheese spinach salad. I might have been the only one who liked those, but I was trying to show the kids what a multi-course meal might be like. We topped it off with a pecan pie a la mode! It was fun even though it was a lot of work for just our family.

My mom always did the same for us, but for some reason I wasn't thrilled about putting forth the effort for my kids who I knew wouldn't necessarily appreciate it. But that morning, after B made a yummy Thanksgiving breakfast, I read the new Critique from Ransom Fellowship (the newest publication isn't listed yet as far as I can tell, but if you have a moment, get connected with Ransom Fellowship's site: "helping Christians develop skill in discernment") and there was an article called "The Gift of Food." Quotes like this were so timely and encouraging for this kitchen-avoider:
We have come to believe that there is infinite value in moving quickly through every task with as little effort and time as we possibly can. Meal time, too, has become for many just one more thing to get through with as little trouble as possible; another task in an already hectic life.
Karen Baldwin, the author of this article, moves on to share about her own family's experience of eating meals together and the purpose behind hosting others:
They (her children) learned that mealtime was a time that required effort and planning and which created an environment where something real and authentic occurred...
Preparing food can and should be looked at as a gift we can give to others. God made us to need food and need it several times a day....He also made us for fellowship; made us connoisseurs of one another, enjoying one another's gifts, cultures, facial expressions. All this requires intentionality. It takes care and thought to feed others, it takes interest and time to pursue relationships.
Although my summary isn't doing the article justice, I was very encouraged to take joy in preparing this meal for my dear family and encouraged to make more room for hosting others at our table. And even though Abi said, "I no like dinner" when she was sitting with us at the table, the kids noticed the meal was special; they noticed our effort. We all gave thanks together and Oliver even agreed to always be the one to pray at Thanksgiving... maybe the only dinner all year that he prays before!
We hope all of your Thanksgivings were happy and full as well!