As Mike and I prepped a menu for this year’s Thanksgiving feast, we wanted to take our traditional dishes and shake them up a bit. Instead of the typical corn casserole, we’re making a chipotle-cheddar variant; sweet potato souffle will be traded in for twice baked sweet potatoes; green bean casserole is being switched out to a swiss cheese version (thanks to my sister-in-law).
It’s change. It’s only food, I know—but it’s change. When I think about the fun of sampling these new recipes, I get excited . . . but my heart is also tugged back to tradition, back to the warm familiarity of what those typical dishes represent. I find myself using such traditions as anchors for a life that is ever shifting. Traditional meals (as well as visitors, conversations, stories, and activities) build a framework upon which my memories can be hung. I know where to find them, how to categorize them, what to expect—everything is in place. The year may change, but the rest is constant, and somehow in the middle of that I find solace when I feel like life is unpredictable.
Change is both a blessing and curse. Change signals a shift for the better or the worse, for life or for death. We experience both sorts, whether we like it or not. And because I’m pain averse, I can paint change as the bad guy. Sometimes I want to shrug off the good along with the bad as a manner of self-protection. I want change to stay away from me (and my traditions and my Thanksgiving dishes, thank you very much). But then, even this very morning, I read A. W. Tozer’s commentary on change in The Knowledge of the Holy, and it reminds me that change is not always bad:
“[As] much as we may deplore the lack of stability in all earthly things, in a fallen world such as this the very ability to change is a golden treasure, a gift from God of such fabulous worth as to call for constant thanksgiving. For human beings the whole possibility of redemption lies in their ability to change. To move across from one sort of person to another is the essence of repentance: the liar becomes truthful, the thief honest, the lewd pure, the proud humble. The whole moral texture of the life is altered. The thoughts, the desires, the affections are transformed, and the man is no longer what he had been before. So radical is this change that the apostle calls the man that used to be ‘the old man’ and the man that now is ‘the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.’ “
Without the possibility of change, I would be stuck. Change is the way to hope and life, and with out it, I would have no chance of discarding my old self. I would have no chance of becoming truthful, honest, pure, humble. In Christ, change is possible and even good.
For that I am truly thankful.
Although this does not make me want to welcome change unilaterally, I am at least willing to entertain the notion that it’s not all bad. It’s a start.