Think about birthday cakes. Birthday cakes are promenaded into the room covered with candles. The lights go down and everybody starts singing. Thanksgiving turkeys deserve at least that much solemnity.
To begin, before the turkey is brought in the cook should change aprons. Take off that dirty stained one that you have been wearing since early morning and put on something clean and very, very festive. The turkey then should be placed on a special platter that has been set aside and used only once a year. Then, before the turkey is brought into the dining room, if there are no musicians or instruments available, at least have somebody with a smart-phone cue up some grand-entrance music like the theme from “2001: A Space Odyssey” or “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Then the turkey should be processed throughout the house – maybe even around the yard and the neighborhood if it is nice out. There should be candle-bearers and percussion. Once back at the table there should be one last ceremonial basting, right there at the table. Pour the juices to get everybody’s salivary glands flowing.
Next, somebody should be dubbed the official turkey carver. This person should be toasted with the first glass of wine and a blessing should be invoked. There should be a series of blessings over many aspects of the turkey – separate and distinct from the customary blessing over the meal.
Finally, there should be a ceremonial presentation of the gizzard. The recipient for the each year’s gizzard is to be discerned and proclaimed at the end of the previous year’s Thanksgiving dinner – with an oath to be administered and the name of the recipient inscribed in a book of family ritual.
Why all the fuss? Because, life is a grand liturgy. All of God’s creation is a temple. Heaven and earth move in harmony. As God teaches us in the creation story of Genesis, with its sanctification of all time and poetic litanies, its life-giving divine proclamations, the perfectly interwoven movement of light and darkness, sky and land and sea, all that exists is exceedingly glorious. All that we do is to be worship.
That’s why. And, on this day especially, even turkeys too.