45,000,000 Turkeys, Pt. 2

Not everyone likes turkey. Some find it dry, or bland, hence the delicious brown gravy.

thanksgiving
Not My Dining Room or My Family, But They Seem Nice!

It’s Iconic

But still, it’s a cultural icon, and hundreds of millions will have turkey on Thanksgiving.

Why do we keep these traditions? Are we comforted by maintaining religious and cultural practices?

3500 Years Ago

About 3500 years ago, a million slaves walked out of Ramses. The final straw was the death of Egypt’s first-born sons. That was a terrible night for the Egyptians as grief swept through their homes. But it was different for the Hebrews. They had painted lamb’s blood their doors, so death would pass over. That night they ate a special meal, a Passover meal, knowing it would be their final meal and their last night in Egypt.

There are interesting similarities to Passover and Thanksgiving.

The Slaves                                    

  • Left for the promise land                      
  • Ate roasted lamb                                    
  • Shared with family                                 
  • Passover symbolized freedom             
  • Passed down through the generations   

The Pilgrims

  • Left for the new world
  • Ate roasted turkey
  • Shared with family
  • Thanksgiving symbolized freedom 
  • Passed down through the generations

Passover

Passover was rooted in freedom. God delivered them from Egypt and led them to Canaan. He provided water, manna, and the promise of a better life. Every year Jewish families gather around the Seder table to remember and to give thanks to Yahweh for delivering their ancestors from bondage to freedom.

Thanksgiving

The Pilgrims left their homes to escape persecution and find a better life. They held a strong belief that God delivered them to the promise land. It was a life their children would inherit, and their children’s children. A life passed down to every generation. 

They Passed It To Us

If not for our Pilgrim forefathers, we might exist in a very different world. Would the United States of America have ever been born? Would America be very different? Would we still enjoy religious, political, and social freedoms? Would we still be prosperous and free?

How Do We Relate?

On the last Thursday of November, we gather around our dinner tables to give thanks. We practice the grace of gratitude and remember those who sacrificed to bring the message of freedom to the new world.

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Looks Good To Me, Let’s Eat!

Along with the food, the football, and the napping, let’s take a moment to go deep within ourselves, to places we don’t often access, and  pause to give thanks on Thanksgiving. 

To Close

Let’s not allow those 45,000,000 turkeys to die in vain!

We are free and prosperous and alive to enjoy it.

May God bless you and may he continue to bless our great nation.  

Happy Thanksgiving

Forty-Five Million Turkeys, Pt 1

There is a whole passel of turkeys about to be baked, fried, roasted, and smoked.

How Many Turkeys?

Forty-five million birds. That’s how many turkeys Americans will eat on Thursday, plus or minus a few thousand. But we are a big nation, with a lot of big people, and Thanksgiving is a big holiday.

turkeys
Their Days Are Definitely Numbered 

The National Bird?

Benjamin Franklin wanted the wild turkey to be our national bird, arguing that turkeys were uniquely North American. But the Bald Eagle won the race. For 364 days, the Eagle soars high, free, and majestic. But on Thanksgiving, on that one special day, the turkey is king. Yes, we kill and eat the king, but in terms of popularity, he is the clear winner. And we were never going to have fried eagle for Thanksgiving. 

Alexander Hamilton said, “No citizen of the United States shall refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day.” Well put. But it was President Lincoln who, in 1863, made a presidential proclamation for a national day of Thanksgiving. Here we are, 153 years later, gearing up to carve 45, 000,000 turkeys.

It’s A Social Bird

It’s a meal shared with family and friends. The Pilgrims shared their feast with Wampanoag Native Americans. Edward Winslow recorded there were 50 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans at the three day feast. They probably had fewer than 45 million birds. 

Our meal will feature traditional favorites like cranberries, cornbread dressing, some kind of lime jello salad thing, and pumpkin and pecan pies for desert. Yum.  

Giving Thanks

They had lost nearly half their colony that first winter. It was a most discouraging result for those who had so deeply sacrificed for a slice of the new world. But the colonists professed a profound faith, believing that God led them to this land, to discover all that is best in a life lived in freedom and prosperity.

For Us?

 Our Thanksgiving isn’t about surviving a bitter winter. It’s more about a day off from work to gather around the table with our favorite people. We will have great amounts of rich food laced with sweet fellowship, and then there will be football with pie and ice cream. God bless America. 

But maybe it’s also about something else. Perhaps our Thanksgiving really is a God thing. The Pilgrims sailed across a violent sea, to an unknown future, to establish a new life in a new world. Did the Lord our God lead them here? Are we richly blessed today because of their faith and courage?

To Close

 We are richly blessed, and I believe most of us would agree to that, so how do we express our gratitude, how do we give thanks on Thanksgiving?

I want to believe that 45 million turkeys will not have made the last full measure of sacrifice just so we can consume them and rush back to the TV.

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Look for part 2 Wednesday morning.

Forty Five Million Turkeys, Part One

That’s how many birds Americans will eat this Thursday, plus or minus a few hundred thousand. But we are a big nation, with a lot of people, and Thanksgiving is important.

thanksgiving

Benjamin Franklin advocated making the wild turkey our national bird, arguing that turkeys were uniquely American. But the Bald Eagle won out. For 364 days, the Eagle soars alone. But on that one day, the Turkey is king. Yes, we kill and eat the king, but still, and we were never going to eat the eagles anyway.

Alexander Hamilton said, “No citizen of the United States shall refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day.” Well said. But it was President Lincoln who, in 1863, facilitated a national day of Thanksgiving, making it a holiday. Here we are, 152 years later, preparing to roast, fry, and smoke 45, 000,000 turkeys.

It’s a meal shared with family and friends. The Pilgrims shared their feast with Wampanoag native Americans and it lasted thee days.

Our tables will be laid with traditional side dishes like cranberries and pumpkin pie, which the Pilgrims didn’t have. But they had turkey, at least we think they did. William Bradford recorded in his journal that the colonists hunted fowl and venison for the feast. He also mentioned that they hunted wild turkey in the autumn of the year.

Certainly they were grateful and had much in which to be thankful. They lost nearly half their colony that first winter. But the colonists had a profound belief that God led them here, to find all that is best in a life lived in freedom and in obedience to Scripture.

So how are we to relate? Few of us have sacrificed as much. Our Thanksgiving isn’t about surviving a bitter winter. It’s more about the blessings we’ve enjoyed. It’s a day off work and a gathering of our favorite people. Great amounts of great food with sweet fun, and football enjoyed with pie and ice cream.

But maybe, just maybe, it’s also about something else. Perhaps deep down in those places we don’t often access, Thanksgiving really is a God thing. The Lord led them across a violent sea, to an unknown future, to establish a new world. God led them here and we are richly blessed because of their faith and courage. Praise be to God!

In Part Two of this article,  I will attempt to connect our hearts and minds to the greater meaning of Thanksgiving. Perhaps it is a God thing after all.

I’ll publish Part Two on Tuesday afternoon.