When I was growing up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, one of my favourite times of year was when we had the Harvest Festival at church. We didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving there in the same way it’s done in Canada and the U.S.
In Belfast there was no designated holiday, but all the churches celebrated Harvest Festival! Oh, how I loved the display of fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and hay bales! The church looked amazing! Sadly, my family didn’t go to church together. Most of us attended different little gospel halls or churches along the way, always encouraged by my mum, but we didn’t attend as a family. Now that I’ve experienced what it’s like to do just that, I realize we missed out. We sang the usual harvest hymns such as “We Plough the Fields and Scatter”, which was funny, as I grew up totally in the city. It didn’t seem strange at the time to sing that with all the gusto I could manage!! “Now Thank We All Our God” was another great favourite, and oh, how I enjoyed singing!
When we emigrated from Northern Ireland to Canada and discovered Thanksgiving I was thrilled!! You mean we get a day off, as well as celebrating throughout the weekend? I loved it immediately―the food, decorations, getting together with family and the beautiful early October weather and landscape. It has become one of my favourite times of year. I love Christmas, of course, like so many people do, but Thanksgiving has all the wonderful elements of Christmas celebrations, without the stress and hassle of gift buying, wrapping, and all of the pressures that brings. Worrying about how much money is available for gifts etc. can certainly take the shine off the season!
Thanksgiving is an opportunity to get together and appreciate what and who we have in our lives. Family, friends and faith mean so much to me and I’ve learned over the years to appreciate them more and more. It’s a time to remember to thank those who come across our paths. Something we should be doing all the time surely.
Let’s thank the cashier in the store; the person who holds the door as you pass by; the waitress at Swiss Chalet; all those who do us a service day after day should hear a “thank you” from us throughout the year.
Some of us are so blessed by the people and circumstances of our lives that we should be willing to share with those who are less fortunate.
Take time to drop off some food to the local food bank, or make a donation where it will make a difference. Maybe we could just help a neighbour out with a small gesture of support.
Look around and take time to be thankful for all of those “little” things that make life worth living. This Thanksgiving, I’m especially grateful for all the blessings God has shown to me. I pray His blessings on all of you and say with the song writer, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”“Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” Click To Tweet