“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.
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)
One of the best Canadian Thanksgiving I remember (okay, just about all of them were the best!) was with my step-father’s family. And come to think of it, there were several great gatherings with them too! I guess I cannot think of a Canadian Thanksgiving that was not wonderful! Maybe that is why I miss them so much!!
What the prophet Joel said is very true for me. When I was/am with my Canadian family I do not fear anything. Maybe it helps that the years I was with them for Thanksgiving were in my youth when there was little to worry about (and prepare) anyway. There was a peaceful of being cared for and looked after. And good food!! All very good reasons to give thanks!
“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)
If you grant me the opportunity, I can “wax poetic” a little more about the Canadian Thanksgivings in my past. Within that safety and security of family, there was also the safety and security that my family of origin ascribed to the tenets of Christianity. They were my role models growing up, and showed me how the Christian life was to be lived out. They believed with their heart, soul, strength . . .
“But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Verse 33)
I wish for you, beloved reader, the experience of family that I had growing up. The safety, security, and care that my family of origin (all sides of that family) gave me. The firm foundation, guidance and direction that I received from them. I did not, to my regret, realize how much that meant to me until I reached adulthood. I wish I could have told them at that time and in that moment what it meant to me. They did not do those things because they expected me to see the grace and blessing; but because they wanted to bestow grace and blessing upon me out of their love for me. And I am glad that I was able to tell them how much their love meant to me. This Thanksgiving season, as it stretches from mid-October to the end of November, may you express to family and friends the love and care that you feel. Shalom & Selah!