There is no doubt in my mind that for me, Thanksgiving is a metaphor for abundance. I have vivid memories of my whole extended family stretched out across four rooms of my Gramma’s farm house, sharing that annual meal together. Last year, on the Night before Thanksgiving, I wrote about some of those memories which are like treasured family jewels in my upstate New York farm family. Thanksgiving in my family is a harvest of people’s time, favorite dishes, and abundant and lavish sharing of food, stories, and company. In recent years, Thanksgiving for my smaller family here in Virginia has also brought friends and neighbors and our family to the table, cooking favorite dishes that give us a shared sense of love and community. Thanksgiving is a metaphor for our abundance: as individuals, as families, as community, as citizens of a country that has nationalized a holiday to give thanks.
But it’s only October…why all the Thanksgiving talk? The reason why I’m talking about turkey today is that I am leading a charge to fund raise for 350 Turkey Dinners for clients of the food pantry at St. Thomas Episcopal Church. Our Turkeys of Thanks campaign is a way for us to share what we are thankful for, while giving to support this abundant gift of love, food, and presence that we will provide for our community. This is a lofty goal, so we are starting on this first Sunday in October to spread the word and share the thanks.
How does it work? You choose to donate $20 to sponsor a turkey for one of our food pantry clients (you can use the direct PayPal link on our church website). We fill out a “Turkey of Thanks” with something you’re thankful for, and decorate our parish hall/food pantry with all these notes of thanks. A virtual “Turkey of Thanks” wall will be posted on our website (below) with all the wonderful messages that we are receiving with each donation:
Now, on to my own thoughts on Thanksgiving as abundance:
- Thanksgiving offers us an abundance of opportunities to consider the blessings of this life and speak our thanks out loud.
- Thanksgiving allows us the abundance of being with family and friends (and inviting family and friends to just us) in sharing the blessings of this life.
- Thanksgiving allows us to eat abundantly from the bounty of our recipes and classic dishes.
- Thanksgiving is the picture of abundance, a mental image of plenty to which we aspire. Even for families that have little, it is a sign of abundance in comparison to many who have nothing.
- Thanksgiving is abundant grace, the ability to sit at a table together and invite others to join us. We don’t all necessarily see eye to eye at our Thanksgiving tables…but we still share community. In that act, there is abundant grace.
- Thanksgiving is abundant giving and receiving. Every time I have given of money, time, meals, or services I am gifted back beyond what I could have asked or imagined. Giving is an act of abundance, and a recognition that what we have is not ours to horde, but our to generously share. Whenever we let go of our time, talents, and money to help others we are richly blessed in ways that go beyond calculated investment. We are blessed at a soul level, and we are given the grace of catching a glimpse of Divine Presence moving through the world.
I’ll be sharing more Thanksgiving stories as this campaign progress. But, if you’re reading this today, consider doing something abundant and sponsoring a Turkey of Thanks. Use the PayPal link at http://www.stthomasrichmond.org/article/turkeys-of-thanks where your tax deductible donation will be routed to and directly used by our 100% volunteer run food pantry to offer abundant food and groceries to our neighbors. Your PayPal receipt will be from St. Thomas Episcopal Church and is tax deductible. Leave a note in the “message to seller” line or as a comment on my blog, and I will transfer it to our Turkeys of Thanks wall both in person and virtually.
Thank you in advance! And feel free to spread the word, and share the love…