Friday, December 2, 2011

Turkey and Dolphins

"They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fitte up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength, and had all things in good plenty." -William Bradford
     Our family traveled to Indiana this year for Thanksgiving. It was a monumental feat in and of itself to assemble one entire side of my family and extended family for a day and a half. Add half-a-dozen grand-puppies to half-a-dozen cousins trying to work together in the kitchen, to me skipping around with a camera, to my aunt conspicuously showing off her felt turkey hat, to deep questions about the meaning of life, and you get dolphins. We debated hotly about the meaning of life, and even placed a Skype call to Australia, but the cousins and I officially concluded that dolphins are the meaning of life.
     On a slightly less aquatic note, this year's Thanksgiving was a great "second Succoth" for our family. Much like Thanksgiving minus the pilgrims, Succoth, or "Booths," is the Biblical festival that closes the traditional Bible reading cycle, and looks forward to the heavenly feast of Revelation 19.
Succoth is the final fall feast in the list of seven Biblical feasts, and it originates in Deuteronomy 16:13-15: 
"You shall keep the Feast of Booths seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing floor and your winepress ... because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful."
     It may even be speculated that the very first Thanksgiving was actually a modified version of Succoth. As we see from William Bradford's writings, he studied the Hebrew scriptures and language quite extensively, and we may assume that the original Thanksgiving on the shores of North America was a New-World spin on the Biblical harvest feast. Our family has been celebrating Succoth for several years now, and with every new Feast of Booths, it's given us a chance to look back toward the journey of the Hebrews through the wilderness, and forward toward the coming wedding feast in heaven.
     This year, our feasting and our reasons to be thankful were doubled with our trip to Indiana for the Thanksgiving holiday. It was great to see my cousins again, and even amid tens of dozens of card games, and late nights of Ping-Pong, we still managed to find the meaning of life. In fact, we even discovered that "nothing" is a theological impossibility, that all paradox is fundamentally literary, and that it is, in fact, possible to eat too much turkey. Dolphins, however, somehow remained the trump card to all discussions. Go figure.

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