“Do not fear, O soil; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things!
Do not fear, you animals of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit,
the fig tree and vine give their full yield.
O children of Zion, be glad and rejoice in the Lord your God; for he has given the early rain[a] for your vindication, he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the later rain, as before.
The threshing floors shall be full of grain, the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent against you.
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame.
You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.” (Joel 2: 21-27)
It is Thanksgiving in Canada, and the RCL has generously provided a set of scripture passages to celebrate and commemorate the day. I have wonderful memories of Thanksgivings in my growing up years. Food and frolicking fun with cousins when I was young; fine dining and elegant table settings in my teens. This passage from Joel brings those times back to mind.
“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy. Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.” (Psalms 126)
I think what I like most about the Thanksgivings of my childhood is that the day felt like a “gift.” After a weekend away from school there was this extra day that came floating down like manna from heaven – only it was turkey flavored and came with stuffing, rolls, and desserts! Responsibilities and obligations were sent aside, and there was a feeling abundance and contentment.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all —this was attested at the right time. For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” (I Timothy 2:1-7)
I think, or at least I hope, I was aware of the blessings and abundance that surrounded me as a child. We did not have a great deal, but we had enough. And I was thankful for the “enough.” I was not very politically aware as a child (and I have tried to recapture that “innocence” as an adult) and did think much beyond my parents and the church as authority figures. And I did live a peaceful life as a child, adolescent angst aside.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:25-33)
There is a “magic” to Thanksgiving, regardless (and whenever) it is celebrated. Aside from the worrying about preparing the turkey and other food, Thanksgiving means a setting aside of worry. As long as you are thankful for what you have, there is nothing more that you have to do or be worried about. I have had Thanksgiving that were fully and completely abundant, and Thanksgivings that were sparse and on a shoestring. But the important elements of family, love and joy were always there. And those were the things I gave thanks for the most.
May you, beloved reader, give thanks for the things in your life, and may our Lord God supply to you the things that you need. Selah!