This weekend we had our church Thanksgiving meal, the second one we have held in Northampton. Thanksgiving is one of the American holidays that my wife misses from when she was growing up in the States, and as it always involved eating a lovely meal, I am quite happy to celebrate it. We have always celebrated and invited as many friends as we can fit in whatever house we are living in at the time – creating family as Sarah’s real family is so far away.
On Saturday we hires a community centre on a nearby development (ours isn’t finished yet!) and we all pitched in and brought a dish with us providing the turkey (a huge 10kg bird!). There were 23 of us in all, 15 adults and 8 children aged from 6 months to 8 years, plus a bump who was then two days overdue! This was made up of the Berrywood Church core team (6 adults), two husbands and other invited guests – our neighbours from the development. There was plenty of food – soup then the turkey dinner followed by a selection of about 8 different deserts.
Before the desserts Sarah described the origins behind Thanksgiving – how the early settlers to the United States were so grateful for the help of the Native Americans during their second year there. The first winter had claimed a lot of lives as the plants they had tried to grow had not flourished in the different climate. The second year the native people helped them with growing things, and they were thankful to God for the harvest which meant that they could survive another year.
It has been tradition in Sarah’s family to go around the table saying what we are thankful for in the preceding year, so this is what we did, giving everyone a chance to articulate that most basic of human emotions – gratitude. One lady was moved to tears as her husband gave thanks for the 40 years of marriage that they had celebrating this year. Although not articulated, I think many people know that that the source of good things and the focus for our gratitude is God.