Passing the Thanksgiving Baton
Families pass batons much like relay teams do. One generation hands its gifts and stories on to the next. Eventually the cycle of love and tradition wears a deep path in time that becomes known by your family name.
How often do we see a newborn child and comment that she has her grandmother’s eyes. How many times have we said to someone, “You remind me so much of your father.” Whenever we see the pattern of strength and generosity repeated through the generations, we are given reason to hope and be grateful.
In our family, the joint making of Thanksgiving favorites is a great tradition: chocolate pie, deviled eggs, sweet potato casserole, homemade stuffing. Over the years, tradition has passed from my grandmother to my mother, my father, me, and my brother and his family.
I remember a day, over twenty years ago, when I went into the kitchen to find my young teen niece preparing the pie crust. Under their mother’s supervision, the three younger siblings were all about the deviling, sweetening and cubing of elements for the feast.
My parents had died not too long before, but I saw their spirit, alive and joyful, in the midst of that loving activity. The scene left a sacred impression on my heart undimmed over two decades. Looking at those beloved children, I thought how Mom and Dad would have loved them. And once again I realized that they are the precious hope of our family’s future and the blessed confirmation of its past.
Now, the years have passed over our household in blessing, and these dear “youngsters” are themselves Moms, Dads, Aunts, and Uncles guiding our new young ones in the blessings of faith, family, friendship, and generosity.
Be especially mindful of your children this Thanksgiving. Confirm in them the traditions they continue and the newness they contribute to your family. Whether they sit over at the kids’ table or have joined you at the “big table”, make Thanksgiving Day a special time to love them. Tell them stories that connect them to their history and offer them an irreplaceable stability as they create their own chapter of your family’s story.
Let us pray for one another on this Thanksgiving Day, and for families who struggle with any burden. May we, and they, find the hope, strength, courage and support to live in joy, peace, and gratitude.
Music: We Are Family