It’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada; the first break for the fall semester. In some regions of this “vast land that shapes us”, fall colours are well advanced and the nip of frost is a daily reality. Thanksgiving signals the end of summer and in Ontario it’s traditionally the occasion to visit the cottage for one last time before winter sets in.
I remember my first Canadian thanksgiving: traveling to Owen Sound, Ontario to spend the holiday at the home of my friend and visiting their cottage at Tobermory at the end of the Bruce Peninsula on Georgian Bay. As a young man fresh up from the Tropics, I remember splashing in the very cold waters of Georgian Bay. A bit foolhardy, but you gotta make good memories!
Many years have gone by since that first October in Ontario. Today, as I think about the upcoming weekend, I am reminded of a verse from an old Thanksgiving hymn: Great is Your Faithfulness.
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above.
Join with all nature in manifold witness,
To your great faithfulness, mercy and love.
That triad – God’s faithfulness, mercy and love invites us to give thanks. In everything give thanks. Sometimes that thanksgiving will overflow freely from a grateful heart. At other times it will be summoned by faith from an aching heart with gritted teeth and eyes tight shut – a sacrifice of thanks. In either circumstance, his mercies are new every morning.
I have much for which to be thankful. “To whom much has been given much is required.” My challenge is to give back; to live the life of a giver, giving without expectation of anything in return. Whether it be material “stuff”, words of encouragement and affirmation, or time spent truly listening; I must give to add value to the lives of others. In the words of Mark Twain: ” Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry”.
Wherever you are in the world today, Happy Thanksgiving.
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