A new holiday tradition may be taking shape at our house, fashioned from the remains of the feast.
There was a time when I simply discarded our turkey carcass – the leftover bits of meat-on-bone seemingly more trouble than they were worth, particularly given the frenzied post-Thanksgiving hubbub around the house.
But in recent years, I’ve discovered the soul-satisfying flavor of turkey carcass soup…and am now increasingly inclined to block out the time necessary to put a steaming stock-pot of it on our table as we begin the holiday season.
Here’s the thing about turkey carcass soup: It’s not all that hard a recipe to master – but it does take time. And I’ve decided this is an essential part of its charm, something that makes it truly tradition-worthy.
Can’t rush the process, you see. Simmering is essential – hours and hours of it. And it occurs to me that simmering can also be pretty important to the season we’ve just entered – Advent.
While it’s conventional to consider Advent a time of waiting, “simmering” might work just a bit better as a spiritual paradigm.
After all, simmering is not dead time, like “waiting” can all too often be. Rather, simmering contributes something vital to the soup: Gentle heat works with the passage of time to add complexity, building a depth of flavor that would otherwise be lost.
The same can be true of these four weeks of Advent, it seems to me. I was reminded of that fact when I heard the Prayer After Communion at Mass on Sunday. It reads, in part:
…for even now, as we walk amid passing things, You teach us by them to love the things of heaven.
I realized that even a simple pleasure like turkey carcass soup can wind up being just such a “passing thing.” If we take time to savor such gifts – let them simmer – then we will surely develop a deeper appreciation for the glorious Taste of Heaven when He finally arrives at Christmas.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.