The extra leaves have been taken out of the table and replaced in the closet; the roll-away beds have been rolled away; the last out-of-state license plate has departed the driveway, and all is quiet. It’s been a wonderful week, but it’s over and life goes on in a different key – more piano and less fortissimo, more adagio and less agitato, presto, pizzicato. and improvisando.

Gone but not forgotten: there are always the left-overs. The refrigerator barely coped with the stashes of food necessary to feed a family of thirteen – especially the need to cope with the dietary demands of a two-year old and the various types of vegetarian, veganarian, and carnivarian requirements of the various members. Somehow, in spite of all the eating that happened, the refrigerator is still chock full – and now there are only two of us to cope with it.

Thanksgiving Day marks a real turning point in the year. Now there’s the annual Christmas letter to write with its summary of the year past. And now there’s a sharp focus on the coming of Christmas and all the attendant ceremonies. Suddenly the coming of a year called 2008 seems entirely possible in the foreseeable future. The last car was barely out of the driveway when a phone call came asking either I could do a program on one of the American Saints (A Year with American Saints) in February.
So the beat goes on, Specifically, there’s work to be done on a revised edition of the Metrical Psalter and an article for the next diocesan newspaper. There’s also a return to Christ Church Norwalk for the next three Sundays. I took the Sunday after Thanksgiving Day off and they endured someone, they tell me, who preached for thirty minutes. They want me back, and it’s nice to continue even a few months with one congregation rather than face a new congregation every week.

So the “normal” pattern of life resumes, but not without philosophical reflections. It has occurred to me for the first time that this country has inherited something remarkable in this festival. Other countries have harvest festivals of various sorts, but to call it “Harvest Festival” seems to put the emphasis on the harvester. To call it “Thanksgiving” puts the emphasis elsewhere – where it belongs. Thanksgiving Day is over, but Thanksgiving – for life, for food, for family, a place of peace, for work to do – continues.

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