First Congregational Church
164 Deer Hill Ave.
Danbury, CT 06810
Phone:(203) 744-6177

Thanksgiving Blessings: What’s in Your Stuffing?

You can tell about a woman’s philosophy of life from the way she makes turkey dressing.

“Remember God’s bounty in the year. String the pearls of His favor. Hide the dark parts, except so far as they are breaking out in light! Give this one day to thanks, to joy, to gratitude!” -- – Henry Ward Beecher, 19TH Century Congregational PastorRev. Pat Kriss

Time for a break from all the seriousness of this year. I have my own unproven theory about life. And it goes like this: You can tell about a woman’s philosophy of life from the way she makes turkey dressing.

Every Holiday season that involves roasting a turkey is also the occasion for my friend Barbara to call me that morning while I am preparing the bird. Barbara and I are close friends, but have vastly different approaches to life.

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The Story of the Stuffing

Case in point: One holiday morning Barbara called me just as I was putting together the dressing (or, more descriptively, the stuffing, as that’s what you do with it when you stuff yourself).

“So how do you make your stuffing,” she asked.

“Well,” I said, “I’ve been drying out sourdough bread like Martha does. I’m shredding it up now. Next I sauté onions, celery and fresh sage, with a touch of tarragon, in unsalted butter. And then I’ll add turkey broth to the mixture, while adding in dried sour cherries, golden apples and pecans. I will mix these together with a touch of sherry. You know, like Martha does.”  

Then I asked, “What are you doing for your stuffing?” There was a pause. “Well… Stove Top and seasoned salt.”

We all have our own approaches to what makes life savory and appealing. For some it’s combining a medley of many tastes and experiences into one, and making the preparation an artistic expression. For others the essence of life is simplicity -- and less time in the kitchen.

What’s in Your Stuffing?

Now, I have a suggestion for you as you wait for your Thanksgiving dinner to cook. Consider the things in your life that have made life more bearable this year, like special stuffing. Who has been the main ingredient, the “bread” in your recipe? And who are the ones who have put the spice into your life, especially when things haven’t been going so well? Who is your “sage?” who puts “zest” into it? Who has made this year a little bit more bearable with their “buttery presence” in between all the challenges? 

I would venture the suggestion that, even during this year when there were so many things seemingly not to be thankful for, we need to pause and think. The real, hidden guests at your Thanksgiving table are those people who filled you up during the year with their savory presence in your life. Even if you’re missing some of your usual guests, take a moment to raise a toast to them all, because you, too, are part of their recipe for living.

I am thankful for you and for all of God’s blessings.


First Congregational Church
164 Deer Hill Ave.
Danbury, CT 06810
Est. 1696

Phone: (203) 744-6177

Office Hours:
Monday Closed
Tuesday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Wednesday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Thursday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Friday Closed

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Saturday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Sunday Worship:
Sunday   10:00 a.m.–11 a.m.


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