Over the years each of our holidays has assumed its own distinct color scheme in our memories and in our expectations — both graphically and emotionally. Christmas is a frenzied explosion of red and green. Easter is a blinding white light of resurrection. July fourth is flag waving red, white and blue. Halloween is a sharp contrast of orange and black, jack-o-lanterns and witches.
Thanksgiving is much tougher to pigeonhole. It evokes more serene and sedate emotions. It doesn’t lend itself to sharp contrast and primary colors. It is more contemplative than gaudy. I’m tempted to think “brown,” but that just doesn’t seem rich enough to capture the full warmth of the occasion. So I took my search for the Thanksgiving color online. And not surprisingly learned that there is a vast scholarship in color construction, theory and interpretation. Most of the colors sounded too fancy for the feast. In “burnt umber” and “sienna” there’s an echo of the continent that the Pilgrims fled. Among all the fancy labeled earth-tones, “chestnut” seemed to have the right, down-home verbal and visual mix.
It’s a peaceful, nurturing name for a pleasant shade that says Thanksgiving to me. It conjures up fallen leaves, dried corn stalks and landscapes at rest after the harvest. Yes, for harried cooks and their helpers, Thanksgiving creates its own commotion. But the excitement is in the kitchen and not in the shopping mall. It’s a time for families at home, not office parties or fireworks. And thankfully, while there are some references to “turkey day,” as yet there are no aggressive efforts to take the “Thank” out of “Thanksgiving.”
But while the Thanksgiving tone is restful and restorative, we don’t get a total free pass to zone-out on turkey, stuffing and football games. As Paul instructs the Ephesians we are charged with: Giving thanks always for all things unto God. As Christians, we have been given a very good deal by our God. No matter our earthly lot, we are saved by the life, death and resurrection of Christ. He only asks that we actively acknowledge that fact in prayer and thanksgiving and in sharing his love with our neighbors.
Perched between a cruel sea and a hostile shore, the Pilgrims paused in their struggle to survive to set aside a special day of thanks. In these uncertain times, let’s follow that example of nourishing, sustaining faith. Let’s make a special effort to acknowledge God’s gifts, both great and small –giving thanks for his blessings and placing our confidence in his everlasting goodness.
May you and your family have a warm and blessed Thanksgiving — filled with the wonderful tastes, smells and colors of the season — as we gather together joyfully with family, friends and God.
Copyright 2014, David Sellery. Used by permission.