Thanksgiving is here at last. While few things compare to the glory of Christmas, Thanksgiving is a close second as far as I’m concerned, and I believe that’s no mistake. Done right, giving thanks can’t help but be potently meaningful down to our roots, or “in the deep heart’s core,” as Yeats said. I become more thoughtful at the beginning of the holiday season, as only seems natural, and given life’s difficult obligations that we all share, I am glad to be forced into good solid rest. (Consuming a bird with soporific properties helps.) This reminds me of something C. S. Lewis said in his essay, “The Weight of Glory”:
To be happy at home . . . is the end of all human endeavour. [We] must say that the sun looks down on nothing half so good as a household laughing together over a meal, or two friends talking over a pint of beer, or a man alone reading a book that interests him.
If we follow the argument all the way down to the end of the road, giving thanks is the whole point of life. Why are we educated? Why do we take degrees at the Ivies and nail down fast-paced jobs? Why do we bolster our LinkedIn connections and strategically restructure our financial portfolios? So that we can laugh together over a meal, take joy in our children, read a fat book, and drink in the gifts of life. So that we can give thanks, which is glorifying to God.
We breathe in, and so we must breathe out. We earn, and so we must spend. We gather up, and so we must scatter abroad. These are the God-given rhythms of life, and we are wise to follow them. As we celebrate Thanksgiving, may we set aside our work (and our homework) with peace and confidence. God is good, he holds out open hands of blessing to us, and asks us to eat.