Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Gospel Reflection for November 27, 2016, 1st Sunday Advent

24 Nov

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 2.1-5, Romans 13.11-14, Matthew 24.37-44

Thanksgiving gatherings are troubling many folks after the election. The gospel that begins the church year wakes us up to love one another. The gospel is about Jesus’ coming again, an event that seems far off, but the gospel uses the flood in the time of Noah and a thief in one’s home as convincing examples that the time to wake up to God’s coming among us is always now.

The birth of Jesus reveals a divine value in human life and relationships. The birth of God in human flesh is an emptying of divine prerogative and a privileging of our human capacities to heal, share, forgive, reconcile, free, accompany. Now is the time to live like Jesus. Now is the moment to feed the hungry, to forgive those we really love, to restore depressed spirits to joy. Now is the time to watch birds eating the seeds of last summer’s blooms and to let I love you and I’m proud of you no longer go unsaid. Now is the time to give ourselves to those we love and those whose lives we touch.

Isaiah urges us to train for war no more, to beat our swords into pruning hooks, our bombs into bread, to build peace in our families and our world.

What family rituals do you value most for holding those you love together?

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Giving Thanks

23 Nov
Photo via Flickr user Tyler Neyens

Photo via Flickr user Tyler Neyens


O give thanks to the Lord, for he
is good,
for his steadfast love endures
-Psalm 136:1

When I was little, my mom required us to make homemade thank you cards for everything. It became second nature, habit. As an adult, it is still part of my spiritual practice. I don’t use construction paper and markers as much anymore, but I do enjoy the task of sitting down to write a detailed, personalized thank you. I like to think about my gratitude and put words to it. Specificity helps awaken, deepen and broaden my gratitude.

The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.”

-2 Chronicles 5:13

Every Thanksgiving, my spouse and I make twenty pies the day before and serve them to our friends for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. It is probably the most decadent thing we do all year. People love it, taking a moment of abundance to indulge in the bounty. Giving thanks to God and each other is so important on Thanksgiving and beyond. It changes are hearts and eyes. It invites us to focus on what we have instead of what we don’t have. It reminds me to approach people and things I can take for granted with renewed reverence, curiosity, respect and love.

You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

-2 Corinthians 9:11

A well placed, heartfelt, specific thank you changes the energy in the air in a way that is contagious. Its spirit can grow exponentially. It is a practice that can change our worldview, posturing, outlook and energy individually and collectively. This Thanksgiving, I’m deeply grateful for my spouse, son, and baby growing inside of me. I am thankful for my co-workers and a fulfilling job. I am blessed with family, shelter, food, safety and community. I’m thankful for warm coffee, clean water, laughter, soft blankets, engaging books, beautiful music, a healthy body, and pie. In an age of cynicism, polarization, fear and scarcity, when the reach and strength of oppression can take our breath away, let us continue to give thanks and allow that gratitude to bring more beauty into a hurting world.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4:6-7

Giving Thanks Through it All

27 Nov


The world is crying. Yet we are called to continue, from the depth of sorrow, to give thanks.

Lord, hear my prayer;
listen to my plea for mercy.
I call on You in the day of my distress,
for You will answer me.

-Psalm 86:6-7

Thank goodness for the Psalms. There are as many psalms as there are human emotions. A psalm for every season, every combination of sentiments we have inside of us. The psalms give us words to pray and pray and pray again even when we can barely speak, even when we’re not sure if we believe every word, even when we are close to losing hope.

The psalms reflect the wonderful paradox in our faith. We see a broken world. We sit in the hurt of the attacks in Paris. We look for our place in support of innocent Syrian refugees. We know that sin, sickness and death will always exist. Yet we believe in a God who comes into this broken world, who lives with us, walks with us. And we have faith that this God will conquer sin and death. So in the midst of brokenness, we believe in and respond with hope.

This Thanksgiving, in the muck of horrible news and a world in pain, we find words in the Psalms to help us continue to give thanks.

O give thanks to the Lord, for he
is good,
for his steadfast love endures

-Psalm 136:1

This life is Bountiful. And as the singer-songwriter Peter Mayer so joyously puts it:

You don’t just say grace
Before you dig in
You stand and dance and sway
Around the kitchen
And feast your eyes, astounded by
What you’ve been given
Before you even
Sit down
In Bountiful

I am thankful. I cry with the world. I give thanks. I sit down in bountiful.

Happy Thanksgiving From Us To You!

26 Nov

We’ve written a Thanksgiving Grace for you to use at Thanksgiving dinner, or whenever you eat with friends and family.


Happy Thanksgiving from Good Ground Press

28 Nov


We’re thankful for you! Use the discount code “THANKS” and get $5 off any order you place online before December 1st.

Thanksgiving Every Day

20 Nov

The other night I was over at a friend’s house for dinner. In the middle of the table were leaf-shaped pieces of construction paper in fall colors. Before we ate, my friend had her two children pick a leaf and write on it one thing they were thankful for. The five-year old boy picked me. He showed me two leaves and had me pick which one I liked better. He asked how I spelled my name, and I watched him write E-L-L-I-E on the leaf. Then my friend hung the leaves on a string of draped across the mantelpiece.

Photo: Flickr user Mindful One

Photo: Flickr user Mindful One

It was a cool moment, and it got me thinking, as Thanksgiving approaches, about how we teach gratitude. How we practice gratitude. This year as stores choose to start their Black Friday hours on Thanksgiving Thursday, I am even more aware of how we must claim the value of gratitude and build it into our lives on a daily basis. If we replace gratitude with consumerism, our own happiness is at stake.

Have you seen this video connecting happiness to expressing gratitude?

It struck me when one of the women said on the phone that the man is making her do this. It’s strange to take the time to contemplate what we are thankful for and then take the time to express that gratitude to the person who deserves to hear it. Yet those activities make us happier. I like that the video doesn’t even address the change in the person on the other end of the phone. We often focus on how the person being thanked feels. Expressing gratitude changes the person saying the thing that needs to be said. We can do what the video shows every day. We don’t need to wait until Thanksgiving to set aside time to be consciously grateful.

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