A breakfast of gratitude

My favorite Thanksgiving meal is not the dinner with turkey and stuffing. My favorite Thanksgiving meal is breakfast. When my children were little we started the practice of having a formal breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. The table is set with our good china and goblets. Candles. Fire in the fireplace. The menu varies and has included items such as waffles, Swedish pancakes, French toast, or some variation of a baked egg breakfast casserole. There is always juice and coffee with cream and sugar (for this meal, only sugar cubes will do). Over the years there have been broken goblets and spilled juice and the timing for the preparation of this meal has interfered with getting the potatoes peeled on time for the "real" Thanksgiving meal. But this is the meal I wouldn't trade for any other. The value of the meal isn't in the food of course. The value is in the ritual of thankfulness that takes place while we eat the meal. As we eat, we go around and around the table, each of us taking repeated turns to name things for which we are grateful. Many declarations of thankfulness follow a similar pattern from year to year: thanks for each other, for members of our extended family, for friends, for special people in our lives, for health and safety, for employment, for our church, for our schools, for the hope to see in heaven a daughter/sister who died before birth, for a son's miraculous recovery from head injury, for various kinds of rescue (rescue from accidents or unemployment, for example), for the love and presence of God in our lives. Some declarations of thankfulness are specific to the year. This year there will be thanks for specific medical care, for specific opportunities for one son and the nearing conclusion of high school for the other, for the publication of my book, for specific answered prayers...and 'round and 'round the table we'll go.