For many people this time of year is about food. It’s about comfort food, special holiday dinners, parties, and leftovers. Schools even groom children for this by talking about and hosting “feasts” before Thanksgiving. The grocery store aisles are lined with bread crumbs and pie fillings that are not usually so prominently displayed. Friends and co-workers ask what you are doing for the holidays, which mostly translates into “where are you eating?” Have you ever wondered why we become some fixated on these meals? I think about this each November as our family prepares for the holidays. And each year I come to the conclusion that it is because there is something about a “feast” that feeds our soul! But which part of these traditions is actually where our souls find nourishment?
Those of us that can afford a feast tend to spend many hours creating menus, cleaning our homes, buying decorations that will impress our guests and taking multiple trips to the grocery store. Then we spend hours and hours pouring ourselves into creating the perfect meal. I have known people to spend a few days in the kitchen and then quickly eat up the masterpiece in hopes of getting everything clean before the turkey coma sets in. Where was the nourishment? In the food? In the preparation? What if it was missed all together? What if we are focusing on the wrong things this time of year?
John Ortberg writes about our souls thriving on gratitude. He says “all of us can get so caught up in ourselves that we too often don’t take the time to be grateful, to God and to others”. The real “comfort” and “nourishment” and “thanks” that we have been given a whole 24 hours to focus on should be found when you sit down at that table and look around at the people who are there with you. The magic of the holidays is not really about the food, it’s about the table and the breaking of bread together with an attitude of gratefulness. The Last Supper was focused around a table and no one seemed to be in a hurry. We shouldn’t be in a hurry either. We should be listening to each other, telling stories, sharing our hopes and dreams. Dallas Willard said “you must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” Think about this as you prepare for Thanksgiving this year. I ask you to consider making more time to be at your table giving thanks, enjoying your family and friends and feeding your soul.