October 2023

Giving Thanks           

Thanksgiving has been one of the major Canadian seasons throughout my lifetime. In school, we read stories about harvest being shared with newcomers to this continent. I was in a city school in Toronto’s suburbs but even there, thanksgiving meant farm-themed activity sheets and bucolic scenes of corn fields, pumpkins and, of course, turkeys. At church, Thanksgiving took on spiritual meaning. We gave thanks to God as the source of every good thing.

“Thanksgiving” routinely confronts us in ink on our calendars – whether we want to see it or not. Much of the time, stopped by this word, most people can name at least a few things they are grateful for. Sometimes, thanksgiving comes easily. We can think of one thing after another we are thankful for. Other times, the reflection only seems to bring our pain and hurt to the surface. Perhaps even then, the exercise of reflecting on what good there is, however little there seems to be, can soften our hearts.

I wonder how my way of thinking about life has been shaped by the fact that I have lived in a time and place where thanksgiving is an annual event. I’m grateful that there is a day in our national calendar called Thanksgiving Day where I am encouraged and challenged to give thanks.

May you be able to name something good in your life and recognize it as a sign of God’s goodness and of his interest in your life. 

With love, Pastor Joel 


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