Turkey and seeking first the kingdom of God this Christmas season

The Standard December 3, 2020

We are a turkey family. Better than that, we are a men-cook-the-turkey family. For Thanksgiving and Christmas, we traditionally serve a big bird for the entrée. As far back as I can remember, my father attained the most delicious crispy brown skin after cooking the turkey outside under the black dome of our Weber grill. My brothers both continue this practice. All three also perfected the art of simmering the turkey carcass and vegetables for hours in the creation of a savory broth. For my older brother, the turkey is secondary and a means to an end; the turkey and barley soup is the ultimate goal.

My husband never has gone the Weber grill route. In his nascent stage as a chef, he cooked the gobbler in the oven, employing various methods for keeping the breast moist with butter chunks placed between the skin and the flesh or a lattice of woven bacon placed over that area.  More recently he has used a deep fryer with oil or an air fryer, cooling the breast with an ice pack before cooking.

At some point, early on in our marriage, someone gave us the recipe for Mrs. Budd’s Turkey Casserole as a terrific post-Thanksgiving solution for leftover fowl. I faithfully cooked up the dish every year. I don’t remember much about the ingredients but am fairly certain they included pimentos. Finally, we figured out that neither of us actually liked the casserole very much. It had become a tradition without us giving it much thought.

As we enter the Advent/Christmas season, are there things we do simply because they are traditions, but which have lost their enjoyment or meaning? Are there practices which do not bring joy but instead cause stress?  Life is too short for us to lose focus, especially at such an important time of the year. As individuals, families and congregations we should hone in on the things that draw us closer to the love of God in Christ Jesus and leave behind things that distract us from our focus or lead us towards materialism, pride or crankiness. Let’s keep the practices which enhance the true meaning of Christmas as we seek first the kingdom of God.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) “Be very careful, then, how you live- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of the time.” (Ephesians 5:15-16a)

As Jesus says, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:31-33)

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