Our Canadian Thankgiving is held at a more sensible time of the year than that of our American cousins. It is farther away from Christmas. It is closer to our harvest season. The weather is warmer and the leaves have changed to their brilliant, reds, gold, and browns. It is also a reminder that our Thanksgiving Celebration is not just a carbon copy of that of the American's which is wholly focused on the celebation of the Pilgrim's early Thanksgiving recorded in Governor Bradford's Journal. "Of Plymouth Plantation". I try to reread this accounts of the "First Thankgiving" each year and think on the lives of the participants: the generosity of the Native Americans and the ability of the Pilgrims to find reason to celebrate in spite of the fact that the first year of their lives in this wild land cost them the lives of half of their numbers. How powerful is that Faith!
Canadian Thanksgiving has many elements of the American celebration thanks to the United Empire Loyalists who fled to Canada after the Revolutionary War, bringing their traditions with them. But Canada's Thanksgiving has other origins, such as the connection to Martin Frobisher's first Thanksgiving and that of the early French settlers, which makes it easier for Canadians with so many different ethic and cultural roots to celebate Thanksgiving in their own way adding different foods and customs to our familiar North American celebration. I like this in spite of the fact that I am personally very attached to the American celebration as a result of my many wonderful memories of living in New England and sharing Thanksgiving with my American friends.
This year Thanksgiving has been very low key for me. There has not been any of the usual customs of sharing the traditional meal with family and friends. In spite of this the holiday has never been far from my mind and the exquisite weather and been a reminder of the glorious gifts of Nature and our humble place in it. I have had the pleasure of my friend Lynne being here to share it with me. We went out for dinner a couple of times as a celebrated our time together. She is a blessing for me and I trust, I, for her. It has been a year since we reconnected after a lifetime of being memories of each other from our youth. Such a wonderful magical instance of serendipity. This alone is worthy of thanksgiving.
I do not have to look for reasons to be thankful. (see previous post). The recent successful and safe thru hike of the Appalachian Trail by my brother and his wife is one. My sister is still on the famous
Comino de Santiago Compostela pilgrimage across Spain and from her letters she is enjoying herself and finding meaning it her strenuous trek. It has been over a month now. She has shared part of it with her husband and part with her daughter but much of it has been a solitary journey along with other pilgrims.
It has been years since I have participated in a Thanksgiving Worship Service. I may be getting old and sentimental but I miss participating in such a community activity, particularly in singing with others some of those familiar hymns. "All Things Bright and Beautiful". " We Gather Together to Ask the Lord's Blessing" "For the Beauty of the Earth" etc. What is your favourite?
(click on photo to enlarge)
Here is a fun photo. See if you can pick out the Canadians whose faces have been added to the work of art, making is a "Canadian Thanksgiving". "My apologies to my American friends and the artist, Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, of this depictions of the First American Thanksgiving).
I trust everyone is enjoying the season and have deep felt reasons for Thanksgiving.