Why Thanksgiving is Subversive {and How to Have the Best Thanksgiving Yet}

Mama can kick leaves in the woods like she’s tearing back the crumpled paper wrapped over the surface of things.

She walks with a stick.

She dragged it out from under some maple saplings. And then she pins that trail under her right down.

Like there’s no loud and flippant way she’s letting anything make her miss the now right under her, no way that that now could just up and slip out from under her.

You could be a sophisticated cynic and miss your whole life that way.

You walk a bold, amazed way when you know the destination is here.




What had Mary Oliver defiantly scratched down with an inked stick of her own?

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement.”

Everyone’s wild to stop feeling overwhelmed – but nobody ever wants everything to stop and be over.

Mama walks like that through the woods. Like she knows it’s going to be over someday, all over. That your face will come tight right up to it and there’s no stick you can fine anywhere to fight time off. Here will be over.

And then there’ll be that stark moment when you turn and see what you were married to. You can live your life as the bride married to Hurry, having affairs with Not Enough, Always Stress, and Easy Cynicism.

Yeah, I guess we all get to choose our own bedfellows.

Mama always said it and she didn’t care what anyone thought of it: God was her husband. And that ain’t just some metaphor to get the Pharisees all in a prudish knot – it’s brazen Scripture. Take it or go ahead and leave it. We all get to choose our own bedfellows — and who we’ll give our soul to, who or what will get our life.

Mama’s standing there, already decided.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement, vowed to Awe Himself, covenanted to Christand I took the whole of everything He gave in this gloried world into my open arms with thanks.

Because really? Anybody can be a cynic. Cynicism is laziness in every way.

The real heroes are the ones who never stop looking for the possibility of joy.

“Here is good.” Mama taps the ground of the trail with her stick, holding here down. Here is always good if you look at it long enough.

“Good light.” Mama looks up.

So that’s where Levi and I drag the tables to. Haul in stumps to stand in as legs for plank benches. Throw old quilts down as tablcloths and lay out the plates.

“Are we crazy?” I tug at the end of one of the quilts. Mama raises her one eyebrow — “I mean, not in a general, yes, obviously-we-are-crazy sense — but in a specifically in a trying- to- have- a- Thanksgiving-dinner in- the- woods- sense?”

Mama grins. Winks. Knowingly.

Yeah – she doesn’t have to say it.

Wherever you are – Thanksgiving is always for those crazy enough to see grace for the trees.





















Thanksgiving is always for the audacious and the courageous and Grace is always for the risky.

We lay out the table and string up the banners and it’s all ridiculous enough to be meant to be and anyone who whispers eucharisteo, who dares to give thanks for obscene grace, can come to the table.

It’s like the unlikely feast in the middle of the trees is the upside down and the unexpected that is right.

There is Mama and the kids and the Farmer and cousins and aunts and uncles and a Thanksgiving in the woods, in the coming dark and the cooling light, and this feels subversive and right.

Because the shock of it is:

Grace is never passive. Grace is a hijacker. Grace hijacks the dark, hijacks the looming forests, hijacks the sins. Grace hijacks the impossible, the unlikely, the angry, the cynics, the doomed.

Your calling is radical: gloriously hijack every darkness with grace.

To love mercy and do justice and follow Christ means to be the Revolutionary Guerillas of Grace — radically turning the fallen world Upside Down.

And if grace is a hijacker of the dark — then it makes sense to give thanks in the most unlikely places. 

Mama serves up pumpkin pie under a beech tree. Men eat the last of the turkey under the ancient limbs of oaks. I look at them all and I love them for this.










There are always the quiet revolutionaries who give thanks for grace in the unexpected.

There are always the real revolutionaries who know this overthrows all the pressing dark.

There are, even now, the revolutionaries who know salvation is no cheap gift; they know what they were saved for. They choose to give glory with the breaths given. They choose to be married to amazement because only amazing grace divorces souls from the dark.

The kids are lit in the last light, like their hair has been caught on glory. The way they laugh and it rises and nothing can hold it down. Mama walking through the leaves sounds like the rustling open, the unwrapping of gifts.

I can’t take my eyes off those three with their backs pressed up against the bark of a Tree.

The way grace hijacks the shadows.





Join us? And happily change everything by keeping your own crazy list of One Thousand Gifts? Dare you to Joy! Take the dare to Fully Live!

1. Grab this month’s Free JOY DARE Calendar with 3 daily prompts to go on a scavenger hunt for God’ gifts … {or write down any gifts you choose. Use the free app.} 2. Count 3 gifts a day and you have over #1000gifts in 2013. Jot them down in the new numbered One Thousand Gifts devotional journalThe Farmer’s writing in his with a red pen and daily – the numbers in the journal already there! Motivating… 3. Share your gifts everyday in our beautiful Facebook community to enter everyday for the monthly $100 Amazon draw (or link to your blog post with your list of gifts). 4. Count #1000gifts in 2013 and enter to win a Nikon DSLR camera with lens. Slow Down. Savor Life. Give thanks. Believing something is one thing. But the Best only comes when you decide to Be Living it. Please, jump in, make your life about giving thanks to God! — Just add the direct URL to your specific 1000 gift list post… and if you join us, we humbly ask that you please help us find each other in our refrain of thanks by sharing the community’s graphic within your post.
Give thanks to the Lord! His Love Endures Forever!

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