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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving, a reflection

This post is written with thanks to all revgals ( and guys) , with prayers that wherever you are and whatever you are doing today that you will know God's love surrounding you, filling you and strengthening you.

Who does not thank for little will not thank for much. - Estonian proverb

Thanksgiving, or more to the point celebrating thanksgiving as a holiday meant little to me until as recently as 1997. The nearest we get to celebrating Thanksgiving in the UK is Harvest festival, and although there are many similarities it lacks the edge of celebration born out of the raw thankfulness for survival that is still contained within the tradition ( if not the actualities) of Thanksgiving as celebrated in the US, and Canada.

Whilst living in Katy, Texas, we were privileged to be included by kind friends into three very different Thanksgiving celebrations. The one common denominator was the turkey!

Celebration one (1997) was with a large cosmopolitan family, with family members from Australia, Greece and Europe present, we simply became a part of the mix. For a good number of folk present Thanksgiving was not a tradition from childhood, and memories of this day will always be clear not only because of the family fun and games, but also for the generosity shared, and the awareness of the need to be thankful for the many, many blessings we enjoy. It strikes me that being able to celebrate in this way should challenge us to fresh acts of compassion and generosity.

Celebration two (1998) was smaller, we were invited by a family from the Church we attended to share Thanksgiving with them. This time we were included in the preparations, I baked pies, others brought salads. We were the only "strangers" present, but were welcomed and simply joined in the family fun. Once again generosity was evident, this family had a severely handicapped daughter, they could have declared that all the preparation was too much and spent the day quite differently, but instead they chose to share, and I hope they were blessed by it.

Celebration three (1999) was very different, we were involved in a cookout in a City Park, bordering a deprived neighbourhood. I think that around 8 turkeys were cooked ( deep fried) , lots of salads were brought, and baked potatoes appeared from all over it seemed, as did pies and other deserts. Invitations had been sent out to the whole neighbourhood, and while people gathered, other meals were taken to the very elderly and infirm, along with gifts of tinned food and blankets. There was a band playing, I was involved in organising activities for the younger children, while others played basketball with the older ones. It was an exhausting and wonderful day, everyone ate well, the children all had candy and fruit to take home. We had gone to share, and I hope that we managed without being condescending, I still have a picture drawn by one of the girls who came, a bunch of colourful flowers to say thank you. I sense it should be me giving thanks, for her openness, and joy and love touched me that day in a way I will not forget.

So I am thankful for my experiences of Thanksgiving, they do not hold family remembrances, but they do remind me to try to be generous and open, and with God's help I will try.

"O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.
Amen." (Samuel F Pugh)


  1. Thank you Sally, for the Thanksgiving posting. Three different Thanksgivings - but all the same at the same time.

    Wishing all the readers a wonderful Thanksgiving wherever you are.

  2. Happy Thanksgiving to all the RevGals! You are a blessing to me!

  3. Thanks Sally. Lovely reflection. I too give thanks for many blessings...the Revgals pals among them! I hope everyone has a wonderful day.

  4. Thank you for the reflection. I am having a hard time being HAPPILY grateful today, but I'm giving it my best shot! I started it with a 5K, which was my first.

    Blessings on everyone's day.

  5. You were in Katy? That's right next to where I live in Sugar Land. I'm so glad that you had such a wonderful taste of Texas hospitality at Thanksgiving.

    How 'bout that fried turkey????

  6. What a wonderful post! Thank you and God Bless you! I am thankful for you and all the RevGals!

  7. QG, we often drove through Sugarland to Brazos Bend, or to take visitors to the Geroge Ranch! :-)

  8. - and as for that fried Turkey mmmmm!

  9. Thank you, Sally! We are in Minnesota today. It is snowing, but that won't stop us from cooking our turkeys outside on the grill. Mmmmm! It takes a long time, and our S=I=L has to work, so we won't be eating till around six. Blessings to all, wherever you are and whatever your circumstances today!

  10. Thank you for sharing these Sally. Wonderful - all different - all awesome :)

    Thank you God for RevGals for friendship, and generosity over the miles. So many encouraging words and hugs ... Lord I am so thankful to YOU for this community.

  11. thank you, sally, for such a beautiful post with wonderful reflections. late wednesday afternoon I enjoyed a thanksgiving eve feast (turkey, etc.) with one of *my* congregations, so today I'm trying to chill some. i'm also exceedingly thankful for this revgals community, but not unlike spiritmists, it's not quite that i'm having trouble being grateful, but more than anything I need nearby community here in this town with people i physically can see, hug, listen to and talk to. nonetheless, here's my thanksgiving post. blessings to all!

  12. Sally, thank you for the reflection and for the beautiful prayer.

  13. Sally, I am thankful for you today, for our RGBP community, and for these reminders of what matters. Bless you.


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