eating gravy is an act of worship :: thanksgiving precedes joy

November 23, 2011 — 5 Comments

Certain stories in our family have a way of finding new legs year after year at our family gatherings.  One such story has its roots in my parents’ small farm town upbringing in the upper northwestern corner of Minnesota, where the North Dakota plains have invaded the landscape, and families earn their bread in the  rich black soil of the Red River Valley.

My dad was in 3rd Grade.  The assignment was to write and share a poem about “your favorite sport.”  One of dad’s friends stepped forward and shared, with great aplomb, the following legendary verse:

When I was a little lad

I ran to meet my Dad

O’er the fields so wavy

Oh, how I love to eat gravy

There is a simple perfection in this poem.  The affectionate relationship between father and son.  The eagerness of the son to join the father as a prelude to feasting.   The tip of the hat to the waving wheat fields, ready for harvest… a sign of provision and plenty.  And then, in a glorious climactic moment, the hailing of gravy.  Nay, the very pleasure of ingesting said gravy.  Economy of words.  Perfect.

I’m going up north today to revel in my family.  And to eat gravy.  I love Thanksgiving.

Not just the holiday.  The act.  Not just the family meal.  The relationships.  Not just the gravy…

But gravy is a big deal.

“Gravy” is the extra goodness that makes life sing.  More than brownish meat sauce.  It is the extra. The “beyond enough.”  The abundance of blessing.  The richness of the meal.  We could subsist on dry turkey and boiled potatoes, green beans and dry bread.  But why?  God has blessed in abundance.  When we eat gravy, we celebrate the love God has for us.  We feast, and thank the Giver.  The gravy is the the savory saucy goodness that signifies the fat of life.  Pressed down, shaken together, running over…  In America, we all are blessed with abundance.  If you are at a computer reading this right now, thank God.  Thank God for the warm place.  Thank God for the computer.  Thank God for electricity, and the ability to reason.  Thank God that you can read.

We have so much to be thankful for there are not enough seconds in a lifetime to express it adequately.

I saw a quote the other day that rang my bell:  “Thanksgiving is a prerequisite to joy.”

Yes and AMEN.  This is one of my most important goals as a dad – to raise gratitude-filled sons.  Because I also want to raise JOY-filled sons.

I believe my boys were created by God to live their lives celebrating Him in joy. Not a “ho-hum, work-a-day, give me what I got coming to me” life.  LIFE TO THE FULL.  Enjoying freedom from sin. Living in obedience to God as a joyful worship response to the God who gave us life and breath and heartbeats and mozzarella cheese.  And gravy.

The next few days in Bemidji, we’ll be in the thick of God’s greatest gifts.  Family who love us.  Abundant food.  Faith in God at the heart of our conversations.  None of it is lost on me.  God is a good God.  He is GOOD.  In the midst of the best times of life, and in the hardest, He is good.

When I takes that first gravy-laden bite (and the third… and the forty fifth…), I’m going to be saying a prayer.  “Thank you, God, that You are so good to me, though I don’t deserve your favor.  Thank you for your ABUNDANCE.”

Oh, how I love to eat gravy.


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“eating gravy is an act of worship :: thanksgiving precedes joy” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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Psalm 24:7 & Luke 10:42 >> Like David, and Mary, I'm in pursuit of my one thing. I'm the Pastor at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Montgomery, IL. Pastor, teacher, writer, communicator, designer, and drummer. I definitely got the better deal in my marriage to Amy. And I couldn't be any more proud of my five amazing boys. Deeply grateful.

5 responses to eating gravy is an act of worship :: thanksgiving precedes joy

  1. WOW! Awesome writing Josh. Many years ago a journalist wrote the article “Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus” and now about a century later we still hear his writing quoted. I would not be surprised if a century hence someone isn’t quoting your thoughts on Thanksgiving gravy. Your writing is classic. The best part is you give thanks to our good God who is often forgotten or just overlooked. Even through the last several years of considerable difficulty I can also attest to His goodness. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Enjoy your gravy my friend and all that goes with it.

    • God bless you and your family, Paul! Thanks for your kind words. I will certainly enjoy my gravy and all that it represents. 🙂 Praise God, from whom all blessings flow! Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Happy Thanksgiving to you and the Skogerboe clan! I am spending my Thanksgiving in Bemidji for the first time in 20++ years. I find it interesting how in the midst of the hardest times in life, God still pours out His blessings and shows us that we have so much more to be thankful for. Kinda like gravy on dry mashed potatoes. Gravy makes everything good! It is truly a blessing to sit here at my computer and look out the window at the birch trees and be reminded of how beautiful it truly is here. We will surely enjoy family, trees, beautiful weather, and of course gravy. Have a great day!

  3. Ok, so I posted a response and it didn’t show up. GRRRRR! So if you get two responses of similar commentary, lucky you! 🙂

    Happy Thanksgiving to the Skogerboe crew! I am spending Thanksgiving in Bemidji for the first time in 20++ years. Such a blessing! It amazes me how even in the midst of the hardest times God still pours out His blessings. Kinda like gravy on dry mashed potatoes :). As I sit here on my computer looking out the window at the birch trees I am reminded of how beautiful it is here and truly filled with a thankful heart. Enjoy your visit to Bemidji, your family, and of course gravy!

    • Heidi! Welcome to the homeland! Hope you and your daughter have the best Thanksgiving ever. God is good to us – I agree. Thanks for checking in here. I will soak up every minute with the family and every view through the trees and every sip of coffee and every bite of gravy. All proof of God’s love for us. Deeply grateful today. God bless friend!

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