By: Autumn Elizabeth
This year there will be no turkey on my Thanksgiving table, and not just because I don’t eat meat, or because I am thousands of miles from the United States of America. This year, both in preparation for the coming advent season and to honor and raise awareness for those who go hungry everyday, I will be fasting for Thanksgiving.
As someone who was raised Catholic, I have been aware of the power of fasting since childhood. When we remove the metaphorical and literal filler of food, we can become aware of other ways to fill ourselves. To mark this year’s U.S. Thanksgiving, which comes to close the the start of advent, and which has already been embroiled in controversy about worker’s rights, with an absence of food seems the only right course for me. I will have time to think about the meaning of gratitude, of gifts, of wealth, in light of both the upcoming advent season and the existence of massive worldwide poverty and hunger.
Given the confluence of Advent and American Thanksgiving this year, I have to wonder, how would Jesus celebrate Thanksgiving? It is hard for me to imagine the Jesus I know, the Jesus of the poor, the outcast and the overlooked, sitting at a table overflowing with food in a nice warm house discussing how early he will be getting up to stand in like for the best black Friday discounts. I imagine Jesus might be at a soup kitchen, or might hang out on the street corner with those who don’t have houses or dinners. Jesus might be so shocked by the gluttonous feast, he might spend the day in the temple praying.
I don’t really know how Jesus would celebrate Thanksgiving, but I can do my best to follow his example. Maybe next year I’ll be out on a street corner, but this year it feels right to pray for wisdom, for change, for love.
There will be no turkey on my table this Thanksgiving, no mashed potatoes, no green bean casserole. I will sit, at my table, an ocean away from Black Friday plans and pumpkin pie, and pray for the wisdom to celebrate all my blessings the way Jesus might. So, no matter how, or if, you celebrate Thanksgiving, I’ll be praying for you.