Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I’m very thankful that the Wampanoag Native Americans saved the Pilgrims in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts and thus the first harvest festival that we know as Thanksgiving was initiated. Even though it took 320 years from that date until Franklin Roosevelt made Thanksgiving a national holiday, thankfulness has always been part of our national psyche.

The media would rather this Thanksgiving be defined by body scans and intrusive pat downs. They haven’t reported people’s thanks that we haven’t had a catastrophic terrorist event in the United States for over nine years.

When I talked to a few farmers in southeastern Minnesota they shared that the harvest has never been better. I doubt that many people in our state know this. Instead of this story we hear and read about what is going poorly in agriculture.

We hear much noise about all that is wrong about the church, but I’ve read little about the thousands of Thanksgiving ecumenical services that are taking place this week across the country. The Lino Lakes/Circle Pines/Lexington churches are gathering tonight at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church at 7:00 p.m. tonight. In this Lutheran sanctuary I’m looking forward to hearing the local Catholic priest share a homily. I’m grateful that my daughter, Hannah, will sing in the children’s choir. Though it’s easy to take these ecumenical services for granted, I’m thankful that on one night we celebrate oneness through the sharing of thanks.

Thanksgiving is a day to lay aside whatever separates us from each other; instead the day calls us to grab hold of our common humanity by giving thanks. Sure—gluttony is all around us. We can get sick on too much food, too much football, and too many commercials about Black Friday. Even though we are enticed to start shopping, I’m grateful that we have a day to express our gratefulness.

During this Thanksgiving holiday I encourage all of us to focus on what we have—and to let fade the insecurities of what we don’t have. Life on earth will never be perfect, and we still have heaven to anticipate such perfection. Until then, I’m filled with gratefulness and resolved to continue to express my thanks for all of the blessings here on earth.

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