“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 for your vindication, he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the later rain, as before.” (Joel 2:21 – 23)
When I was growing up, just when I thought school days had taken over my entire life, Thanksgiving came. NOT at the end of November when Christmas exams and papers were looming but early in October when the weather was still temperate and the leaves were still a rich feast of color. The Thanksgivings of my youth were wondrous times when aunts, uncles, cousins and all manner of family relations got together to celebrate a successful season of harvest. Although most of the harvesting was done in the grocery store. One of my aunts did have a garden and there was produce from that on the groaning table. But mostly it was the harvesting of good cooking. I felt sorry for our neighbors to the south who had to wait more than a month to share good eating with family and friends. One of the hardest adjustments when I came down to the states for college and then became a permanent resident was waiting for Thanksgiving until all the way into November.
“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.” (Verses 24 – 27)
For many years after my marriage we celebrated Thanksgiving with my husband’s family. Sometimes if school schedules allowed we went up to Ontario for Canadian Thanksgiving. Those were good years of double Thanksgiving!
When we moved out to Oregon that meant for the first time we were on our own for Thanksgiving. By then I had enough cooking experience under my belt to do a Thanksgiving correctly all the trimmings. The first year however the budget was tight and I stretched the dollars as far as I could, and even further. But each year that passed it was easier to make a Thanksgiving that was full and bounteous. Now we savor our intimate Thanksgivings together.
“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.” (Psalms 126:1 – 3)
Last year Thanksgiving it was almost reminiscent of leaner times. I had been unemployed since March of 2017 and groceries funds were at a low. My mother generously helped out and my son had gotten a job in September so he pitched in. And just before Thanksgiving I got hired, so I knew that money would be coming in again. We pinched pennies a little and modified the abundance, but a good time was had by all.
“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.” (Verses 3 – 6)
This Thanksgiving promises to be a great one – my income it better than before and we have much to thankful and grateful for.
“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.” ( 1 Timothy 2:1-7)
In our current political climate a quiet and peaceable life is not easy to find; this is true in all parts of the world. In the past the United States has been for many a haven of calm and sufficiency. But those days are less common lately, and I grieve for that. As when I was a child, I saw those in the United States having to wait longer than I for Thanksgiving. Now as an adult I see the need that exists and it burdens my heart. Why is it that the days and years past glow more brightly in our memory?
“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.” ( Matthew 6:25-32)
Yes beloved reader, the days of my worrying about food or clothing are past. Lean times may come again, but I know we will get through them. I see not only the need for material things in the world, but all things of the heart and soul. In fact I dare to see the needs of the heart and soul in this world are a greater need than the material things. What ever one’s faith tradition the need for a quiet and peaceable life are profound and unending. It is all well and good to say your material needs will be met; but the human body has needs beyond that. And we cannot be sure, beloved reader, that the emotional, psychological and spiritual needs of each person are being meet. The writer of the gospel of Matthew says, “But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Verse 33) But in many instances we, who are followers and profess-ors of the Christian life, need to seek out those in need – all types of needs. Because it is through us that “all these things will be given” to the world.
May you, beloved reader regardless of the time and the season, open your eyes to the needs of other and be open to the calling of the Spirit to fill them. Selah!