A Thankful Response to Abundance
We've come a long way since the Pilgrims,
when settlers in the New World braced for the winter with tangible fear of
starvation. If the harvest was not plentiful, if food put away unexpectly
spoiled, if game and fish turned scarce -- any of these could mean death. In
fact, many of the Pilgrims died in their first grueling New England winter. So
a Thanksgiving feast for a good harvest made sense for them. Eat of the
harvest bounty while it's fresh, before much of it is lost to spoilage. Stoke
up the fat calories before the lean winter begins.
Nowadays most Americans -- those of us
with good jobs and stable situations -- have just the opposite problem.
Finding enough food is no longer a major concern, but obesity is. Most of us
actually have to work at not consuming too much. We count calories, go
on Atkins or the South Beach Diet, work out at the gym, limit our sweets, and
on and on -- and still our waistlines expand.
So does it still make sense to celebrate gratitude
for our blessings by a day of total caloric overindulgence?
Across the nation, a lot of faithful people are
finding a rewarding alternative -- by helping out at Thanksgiving dinners
hosted for the very poor in their midst. (Gleanings
has several reports.) And it's a group that is changing rapidly.
"We used to have a lot of singles, but we are now
seeing a lot of families saying they are having a tough time making ends
meet," Salvation Army Maj. Mary Hunt told the
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal. "Our numbers are up higher for the normal meal
nights, and I'm anticipating Thanksgiving Day will be higher than previous
People who volunteer at Thanksgiving dinners or who
help prepare baskets for families report that the work makes them truly
grateful for the blessings they take for granted. Some parents bring their
children along to teach them about giving and about gratitude.
It's a lesson we all need to be reminded of once in
New This Week, Nov.
24 - 30
Laity Movement Archives.
Lutheran Laity Movement for
closed shop last spring, but its legacy lives on here. The Stewardship of
Life Institute will host its library of online resources. SOLI will highlight
one LLM resource every week, while adding to our LLM Archive.
The Three T's Reconsidered, by Robert A. Hoffman.
"Stewardship does not begin with giving, but with
receiving. It does not begin with an action, but with an attitude; everything
that I have has been given to me."
Thanks This Week -- And Always
When I was in India, I saw that the people had so much less and
yet I heard so many more expressions of thanksgiving and praise for the God who
they knew was taking care of them.
In Dana Reardon's weekly reflection
Talking turkey about
Thanksgiving: We need a gratitude adjustment.
"There's a problem with Thanksgiving. Celebrating an "official" day--like we
will on Thursday, Nov. 27--compartmentalizes gratitude. The truth is that
gratitude is the right attitude every day." From
The Lutheran magazine.
Your Assets to Work
"Nearly every great
congregation plan seems that it does not have the resources in people to bring
it to fruition -- but is that actually true? If people were actually turned
loose to use their gifts, things might happen, and that requires management."
from the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
with much. "Just
giving money is not enough if we are to be good and faithful stewards. ...
Through our lifestyles the world may witness Godís loving character in action by
our effective and proper use of talent, position, and power." From