Giving and receiving nourishment, hosting Thanksgiving dinner, my favorite day of the year. I prepare the turkey in brine the day before, up at dawn on Thanksgiving Day, to put in the oven, and start basting every 30 minutes. I prepare my mother’s green bean casserole, and sloppy potatoes, my son’s favorite of his grandmother‘s when he was young. More recently I have mastered the art of gravy made from turkey stock. No more Bob Evan’s frozen gravy.
The table is set. A place setting with an empty seat for a wandering soul, or one of the ancestors who are invited to join us. A moment in time where past, present, and future are in this moment, this liminal space. Hanging on the wall behind the table, is a portrait of my father as a young boy standing next to his father, my grandfather, a very handsome young man. I wonder about my grandfather’s family when he was a young boy, my great grandfather growing up in a Mennonite community. What a Thanksgiving they must have had, a farming community of Mennonites breaking bread from their harvest.
What does it mean to host? Giving and receiving nourishment in ordinary moments of eating a meal, among family and friends in community, experiencing the same smells and tastes. Receiving a blessing, offering a blessing. Embracing gratitude. Hearts and homes are open. Hosting welcomes people to human interaction and connecting in a warm home, a warm space. Transmitting Grace. Being Grace. Being the Host for joy, love, laughter, prayer, and giving thanks. Being hosting, being love, being home.
Grace and gratitude come from the same root word, gratia, in Latin. Grace begets gratitude, which in turn widens our hearts toward greater goodness and love, expanding our capacity to understand and serve others.