Our Thanksgiving Tree
A friend’s 9-year-old came home from school some years back, wearing a paper “Indian hat.” He excitedly told his historian father, “We learned all about the Thanksgiving party the pioneers threw for their Indian friends!”
“Well, actually,” his historian father explained, “they weren’t just ‘pioneers,’ they were pilgrims, people who came here to live the way they believed God wanted them to live.
“And, although they were very grateful to the Wampanoag, they considered everything, even the Native Americans’ help, to be from God. Their previous year had been horrible, but things were finally getting better. In fact, there was so much food (the Wampanoag brought five deer!) that the celebration went on for days! And all of it, the pilgrim Edward Winslow wrote in his diary, was ‘because of the goodness of God.’”
Many Americans think of Thanksgiving as the start of an ongoing season of gratitude. My wife liked the idea so much that this year she pre-decorated our Christmas tree with a Thanksgiving theme. And then it struck us that we should begin gathering brief “What I’m Thankful For”s from family members. She plans to neatly calligraph these “thankful fors” onto year-dated leaf cut-outs. After which we’ll place them on Our Thanksgiving Tree each year, along with new ones, creating a sort of History of Gratitude.
Of course, 2020 has been more like the pilgrims’ “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” pre-Thanksgiving year than their “Indian hat” year. But this year’s “thankful fors” belong on Our Thanksgiving Tree, as well. Because they’re seeds of hope, seeds that, fed by “the goodness of God,” will produce next year’s bumper crop!
“For this light, temporary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory that is far beyond comparison. And so we fix our eyes not on what we can see, but on what we cannot see. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” ~2 Corinthians 4:17-18