A Matter of the Heart: Reflections on How America Celebrates Thanksgiving

We’re now two weeks away from Thanksgiving. When I mention it to the Chinese students with whom I work, bright eyes and big smiles greet me. Thanksgiving. They’ve heard of it. Especially the really big bird we Americans eat whose name they can never remember. Today one of my Chinese friends suggested we cook one of those birds at our next weekly cooking class and I laughed. I explained to him that cooking a turkey takes hours and hours and that we would never accomplish the task in the relatively short amount of time we have on Thursday evenings. Thoughts of cooking such a large piece of meat for the whole day made his eyes brighten even more. What a curiosity! Recently, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to American holidays and how we choose to celebrate them. I work with Chinese students, ministering to them in Christ’s name. I see differences between us almost every day, but if there is one time of year when I particularly notice the difference between Chinese and American culture, it’s at the holidays.