by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters e-newsletter, 11/27/13

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Will you have time to eat on Thanksgiving? At first blush, that may seem like a silly question. By now the travel plans have been set for you to show up for dinner on time. The menu has been prepared, so that all may be fed. No doubt you will have a main course, of course, that will fill every plate. Just be sure that you don't overdo your meal, or your schedule, for the day.
 
This year Black Friday begins on Thursday. Can you believe it? What are we doing! Considering the travel and the preparation, the shopping plans and the football, will you have the time to relish and not rush the meal? Carving out real, quality time proves more difficult than carving the Thanksgiving turkey, or even getting the family holiday pictures just right. Where is the time to just be together?
 
You can't buy time with family and friends on sale at Macy's. We work hard and believe that we should play hard as well. I understand the impulse to cram as much as possible into the little time that we have. But with all of this energy focused on making the most of our time, have we lost our ability to remember, to contemplate the meaning of our lives together...to simply be together?
 
Consider the words from Mary Oliver's poem called, "The Summer Day."

"I don't know exactly what prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn't everything die at last and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

 Allow this Thanksgiving to be more than a harried but only somewhat holy moment. Allow this Thanksgiving to be a moment of Sabbath renewal for you and for your family. Say Grace and mean it. Really look around the table and offer thanksgiving for the feast that is family. Look around your life and offer thanksgiving for those friends near and far, whose holy friendships nourish your life. Turn off your phones, disconnect the wi-fi, mute the game, and reconnect around your family table.
 
Be idle and blessed,
Jake