And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land which you, O LORD, have given me. Then you shall set it before the LORD your God, and worship before the LORD your God. So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the LORD your God has given to you and your house…Deut. 26:10-11
Like many of you, I am reflecting this week on my many blessings and what it means to live a life of gratitude.
I feel like some sort of cyber explorer, using computer keys to sail the seas of history. I step onto rocky shores and begin digging deeper to uncover the roots of my thankfulness in the stories of the thankful ones who came before me.
I try to understand how it must have felt to suffer the kind of hardship those brave souls did, those freedom-seeking dreamers settling into a new world. How hard it must have been to hold on to hope.
But, after that long, arduous voyage. After surviving churning waves and stomachs, a bitter winter plagued by sickness, the death of loved ones and the prospect of continuing loss and heartbreak, they managed to do something amazing.
They gathered to give thanks to God.
And this is where our stories converge. This week I will join in the collective gathering of thankful people, past and present, who recognize the importance of pausing to praise the One from whom all blessings flow.
I will bow my head over a table of plenty and remember those who celebrated their first harvest. Remember the fertile soil that birthed food to sustain life and the life of dreams.
And, I will remember to offer up firstfruits to God who brings hope to the hopeless, who makes full the empty and who gives us all a reason to be thankful.
I will be on a short blogging break this week so I will take this time to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving. I will join you again next week after the holiday. Be blessed!
We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens his will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing,
Sing praises to his name: He forgets not his own.
(This is an excerpt from the Traditional Thanksgiving Hymn, We Gather Together – translation by Theodore Baker: 1851-1934)