09 November, 2017

What Happened to Thanks Giving?

The first frost to hit our backyard garden struck just this week. The Halloween pumpkins sit in the leaf piles on the sides of the streets, the Christmas decorations are up in the stores, and today I heard holiday music as I sat in a waiting room. 

But what happened to Thanksgiving?  Why have we leapt over the only secular holiday that is based upon a biblical mandate? 

In the Books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, God commands the ancient Israelites to observe the Feast of Booths — in Hebrew, Sukkot, "to rejoice before the Lord your God" at the time of the fall harvest [Lev. 23:40]. In Jewish tradition, the Festival of Sukkot is a joyous occasion to give thanks and praise to the Source of Creation for all the blessings, bounty, and abundance.  Joy is at the center:  scripture says that during Sukkot, "you shall have nothing but joy." [Deut. 16:15]
When they fled England, our New England predecessors saw themselves as fulfilling the biblical Exodus from Egypt.  Thanks to the indigenous people of Cape Cod, they survived their first winter and had a successful harvest of native produce and learned to hunt and fish.  Copying the three day festival of Sukkot, they celebrated for three days and gave thanks for their blessings, bounty, and abundance.

All over social media, people are posting their daily “thanksgivings” as part of a month of thankfulness.  I’m approaching this a bit differently: I think I should find something in everyday for which to be thankful; and to make up for the rest of the year of NOT doing it, I’m listing 12 things each day this month. 

Here’s today’s list of the experiences, people, and things that have made my heart sing by bringing unexpected blessings to me. There are, of course, too little room to fit more than one day here, and so I give thanks for the grace, forgiveness, and understanding of those who don’t find yourself in this list. Be assured you are not forgotten or overlooked.  Likely you are on another days list on the pad on my desk.
  • I give thanks on this 27* morning for a warm place to live and work.
  • I am thankful for abundance of our still-producing garden along the church walls.
  • I am grateful for the opportunity to work alongside creative, thinking, and joyful sojourners.
  • I give thanks for the quiet evenings my soul mate, Dan, and I spend cooking and sharing dinner.
  • I am grateful for the opportunity to raise two sons who have blessed me with lovely daughters, a brilliant grandchild, and a cuddly grand-pug.
  • I am thankful for my furry feline lap fungi who intuitively find me when I need to be cuddled.
  • I am thankful to the person who prepared my lunch at a local restaurant today; it’s hard to adapt Italian food recipes to avoid milk products!
  • I give thanks for the many yes responses when I was sure there would be only no’s. 
  • I lift my voice in thanksgiving for music that warms my heart and lifts my soul.
  • I am thankful for a mother who did not put limits on the dreams of her daughters or sons.
  • I am grateful for books that expand my mind, challenge my preconceptions, and take me to new places.
  • I give thanks for medical care that makes my life so much easier than that of my ancestors.

We have a blessing board in the foyer outside our sanctuary; There you are invited to list those things and people for which you are thankful.