I titled this piece “Do you know beans about giving thanks?” because, well, I’m going to wax a little poetic bean this Thanksgiving. Why would I aspire to this adventure, you wonder, as you ponder your holiday feast? Why, exactly for this reason: because beans are impressive things.
See, you can’t simply say, “Let’s have beans with dinner.” That statement can only be answered with an abundance of questions:
You want beans with dinner, do you? Well, would you like green beans, or yellow beans, or waxed beans?
And, if you choose one of these, shall they been regular cut or french? Canned or frozen or fresh (if I can find fresh this time of year)? And shall I serve them unadorned, or mix them into a casserole?
Do you prefer Del Monte, or Fresh-Like, or the Jolly Green Giant? Or will the local grocery store brand sufficiently stimulate your tastebuds, bud?
Is this what you are thinking, or did you not have a garden variety garden variety in mind? Perhaps you are leaning quixotic or exotic?
If this is so, would your tongue be tied by any of these lusty legumes—the lima, the fava, or the garbanzo?
Or are you testing me—do you think I’m bean-brained (in this case, that would be a compliment)—wondering if I am aware of these lesser-known pod poppers:
• such as the Hyacinth, which is grown in southern Asia, and is akin to our Southern Pea;
• or the Horse Bean, which they might enjoy where I used to live in Michigan, as it is also known as the Pigeon Bean;
• or, perhaps, the Scarlet Runner, also called the Fire Bean, but which isn’t really grown for its bean, but as an ornamental flower?
Now, I know that time is wasting away (unlike your belly), but I have yet begun to dig the fertile soil of beanery. Shall I proceed to the categories of beans which one normally finds mixed up into a lovely culinary concoction?
You are well aware of kidney beans, are you not? Would you care for those in a pot? Shall they be red or white, light or dark?
Black beans are all the rave these days. Do you have a prized recipe up your sleeve?
You wouldn’t start a war, would you, if I suggested navy or soldier beans baked up with some pork?
If I had time to cook cornbread, too, would you delight in a nice pinto bean stew?
Oh, what am I thinking with all this heavy fare? Could you have been speculating a salad bar . . . stuffed with sprouts of beans, of course?
Well, I’ve about emptied my noggin of all my bean jargon. There’s just one bean left on which I could spout, but with all these questions I’m just too tuckered out to tackle the ever-popular soy. Oh, boy. Now, there’s a bean which brings the whole world joy in a thousand different ways that one can employ.
After all this blather, I could use some caffeine. Would you grind up a pot of my favorite java bean? Oh, and something sweet for my belly. How about some of those colorful beans made of jelly?
Now having stifled, with your Cliff Claven clatter, the person who made such a simple request, you’d better be prepared for their dazed reply: “I think I’ll just open a can of corn!”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I have long felt that beans are a fine representative of just how good to us is the Lord, and why He deserves our thanksgiving praise. In creating this world, God certainly did not have to create so much variety of food. If He were focused on giving us meat, fruit, and vegetable, He could have only given us the cow, the apple, and, if the vegetable had to be the bean, it could have simply been green. If this is all we had, we wouldn’t know that we were lacking, and we would be satisfied. But, God isn’t a God who only satisfies. He is a God who delights.
Just how good is this creative God, from whom all blessings flow? He creates so many different kinds of beans that neither do we tire of eating them, nor do we exhaust uses for them. Exhibit A: the soybean.
And not only do we have the cow, but we have a horde four-legged meat factories, and plenty of poultry, and oceans of fish and other seafood. And not only do we have the apple, but we have so many forms of tree-grown fruit and vines with berries.
And vegetables—oh, my!—but beans are far from the magnitude of the menu.
• We have round ones, and leafy ones.
• We have green ones and white ones and red ones and every color one can imagine.
• We have those that grow in the ground and on the vine and on the stem.
• We can freeze them, and can them, and dry them.
• We can fry them and bake them and boil them, and turn them into tons of tasty treats.
• We can stew them, and soup them, and kabob them.
As with creating songs from the notes on the musical scale, there is no end to the dishes we can devise from the variety of vegetables the Lord has set on our table.
But you know all of this, don’t you? There isn’t a thing that you have heard that you haven’t heard, before—except, perhaps, for Pigeon beans, as I had never heard of them, myself, before researching all about beans.
Yes, we know all of this, but this Thanksgiving essay is designed to get you to say, “Wow! What a great God we have! How generous He is to us, His creation!” My friends, we need to be wowed, and we need to know to whom to point our wow, or we will so take for granted the gifts with which the Lord overfills our horn of plenty.
Yes, to celebrate Thanksgiving, and to rejoice that the harvest is home—not only because we are surrounded by a farming culture, but because all people gain from the goodness of Almighty God—to take a day to give thanks is a most essential endeavor.
Even the least religious among us is prone to turning their eyes upward in acknowledgment that the gifts aplenty which they enjoy come from the hands of a giver. However you understand this giver, I hope you humble yourselves in thanksgiving.
Because I am blessed to know the Giver by name, I give my thanks to Him, to my Lord Jesus Christ, on Thanksgiving, and every day I awake from my night’s sleep. My Lord Jesus is the One who knows all of the beans about both creation and salvation, and He has opened my eyes to see Him for who He is, the Creator and Savior.
“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you (Deuteronomy 8:10).”
Thanks be to you, dear Lord Jesus, this Thanksgiving Day and forever!
Now, someone, please, pass the beans . . .