“When you have come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for his name.” (Deuteronomy 26:1 – 2)
In Canada the Sunday before Thanksgiving was usually a Sunday of giving thanks for the blessings in the past year and for having come through difficult times – if that was the case in the year. Now, I have to admit that may be a slightly faulty memory of mine. What stands out clearly though is the excitement that I felt at each Thanksgiving, so maybe I am remembering more of my impressions than actual fact. It always seemed to me that we should go to church Thanksgiving morning and then come home to feast. Maybe I was channeling the instructions given in Deuteronomy. Or just maybe, it was I, myself, who felt so thankful for having gotten through another year. I have to admit I have never felt the same kind of excitement over Thanksgiving in the United States. That is pretty remarkable considering I have celebrated many more U.S. Thanksgivings in my life to this point than Canadian ones.
“Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house.” (Verse 11)
I think, and I would hope, that I have retained some of that excitement when it comes time to gather with family and friends for any type of celebration and giving of thanks. But the Thanksgivings of my youth and childhood will always hold special memories!
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4 – 7)
Maybe the Thanksgivings of my youth and childhood are so precious because I carried not obligation or responsibility for the preparing or serving of the feast. That is not to say I did not help my mother in the cooking and cleaning up. But the planning was mostly out of my hands. I had a good relationship with the Lord God and felt carried for by the Divine. That contributes a great deal towards celebration and thanksgiving for the Lord’s grace and abundance.
“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you” (Verses 8 – 9)
You may think, beloved reader, I had a blissful and carefree childhood and youth. That is not at all true. But the Lord God the Divine safely lead me through the years, and when I look back that is actually the thing I have the most thanks for.
“Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal. . . . Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. ” (John 6:27 & 35)
If you are a beloved Canadian reader, I wish you a joyful and blessing filled Thanksgiving! Selah!
“Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness; come into his presence with singing.
Know that the LORD is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.
For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalms 100)
[Postscript: I realized I was off on my timing – October 14th is Canadian Thanksgiving. My apologies to those who were possibly confused. And a second helping of greetings & blessings to my Canadian beloved readers!]