Thanksgiving’s First Evensong


As we all prepare for Thanksgiving, I am bracing myself for a mild annual confusion which the holiday brings about in me. This dish of black goat-cheese risotto with a seared scallop is one of my favorite dinners.  The risotto is black from the rice used and paired with a bit of goat cheese it supports a scallop well.  It is elegant and delicious and yet, then I do the tally from groceries I can see that the meal cost less than $3.

It looks small on the plate and only amounts to about 1.5 cups of pre-cooked food.  And yet the colors are dramatic, the tastes defined (for those who taste) and the nutrition more than adequate for a writer.  When I eat 1.5 cups of such rich food, I find that I am entirely satisfied.  Nutritionists say that protein in the amount of a person’s thumb muscle and starch of the same quantity along with a vegetable is enough for anyone who does not work in the fields.

So I am wondering, from a  spiritual point of view, just how much food should one eat on Thanksgiving in order to thank God for our bounty and our freedom?  Is Thanksgiving a chance to celebrate survival and comfort or is it a chance to celebrate profligacy, waste and belly-discomfort?  What is “enough” when applying God to the notion of a celebration of food and what is “too much” in a world in which 1/3 of the planet is hungry most of every day?

Perhaps I am stooging out on Thanksgiving and that is not my intent.  But it is a fair question to ask if God, as I see God in Jesus, is really thanked by pushing bounty past excess and into an isolationist national ignorance of the realities of the planet, its resources and its inhabitants. Shopping malls opening at 6:00 am on Thanksgiving day not-withstanding…

I love Thanksgiving.  A bit of eggnog during the parade, some laughter with friends and family, a good meal in which we remember God’s bounty, the preparatory fingering of old Christmas albums by Sinatra are all well and very good.  However, Wednesday – today –  is a day to look hard at our menus, our shopping lists, our measurements … and remember that a bit of protein the size of a hokey puck and some vegetables the size of a softball are, in fact, a measure of bounty which leaves enough food for those in the Sudan, were justice to ever pour down like a river.

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