Glimpses of the Divine in the Mundane

So, there they all were, sitting around the table after the delicious feast of foods and recipes that had been passed down for generations.  Everyone looked as stuffed as the turkey they just ate. The family tradition was to go around the circle and  share what one is thankful for.  So everyone dutifully did their round, the young kids sounding cute and not just wanting to stay with only 1 item to share.  The teens rolled their eyes and shared sheepishly their thanks, inwardly enjoying the process, but outwardly acting tortured.  The older members of the family shared things that were intangible for some, or hard to put into words, things  such as love, family, grace, etc.  The dog snuck in the kitchen to try to nibble off the table, got yelled out, and slinked out, ashamed. Next everyone slowly moved their bloated bodies into the next room and sat around the living room while dad shared some old poems.  Mom lit the candles, and later in the evening the family played games while their stomachs hurt.  Ahh, Thanksgiving.  As the evening concluded, the children fell asleep on the floor or on relative’s laps, and the conversations of “how’s your year” echoed quietly away as the hours of the night tick-tocked, and finally, everyone drifted off to sleep.

It was a similar scene recently at another household, except as the pumpkin pie was being eaten around the family room, many of the family began to share (instead of what they’re thankful for) what great deals they were planning on getting for black Friday.  Two members of the group pulled out the ads section of the paper and began to point out, like a kid looking in a toy catalog, all the things they were planning on getting.  The conversations revolved around which store they would venture to first, stating that one even opened as early as 10pm that night – and if they really wanted to get there, they needed to leave by 9.  The warm atmosphere of family and friends gathering and sharing a moment slowly dissipated as the commercialism robbed the moment.  The kids picked up on it, and started to head to their rooms, or began texting, or playing video games.  And like that, the “sabbath” of the one day of the year given for gratitude was eaten up by consumerism, greed, and the need to grab the best deal.  While left in the shadows, the greatest deal of all was present and accounted for:  the gift of being present in the moment with loved ones that we are not promised time with forever…

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