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The Word on the Week

Thanksgiving

This year we have had a most glorious Autumn with the usual tinted leaves more splendid that ever.

Apparently there is an explanation for the multi coloured display. Following a warm summer the leaves have had an abundance of sugar. Instead of this being absorbed by the tree there has been a surfeit which has been retained by the leaf giving it a translucent effect.

The Horse Chestnut trees were particularly spectacular. They dropped their leaves overnight giving a yellow carpet so bright that it almost pained the eye!

The maples, so magnificent in the USA adding that vivid red to the forest’s palette did us proud with a golden shroud which covered the surrounding earth. We may not have the red leaf variety but this year there was a red tinge to many of our native species adding to the exuberance of the display.

Winter has finally arrived and the breeze has removed all but the last of the leaves producing a rich carpet of colour across the grass. The bare branches take on the appearance of a footballer’s tattooed arms reaching up into the sky to catch the low rays of the sun. The cattle are almost all in their sheds while the sheep are enjoying the residue of a good grass yield which should see them content into next year.

We have much to give thanks for.

In the US they do “thanksgiving” better. Starting on the last Thursday of November the celebration continues over the weekend.

It was first proclaimed in 1789; “WHEREAS; it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits…. a DAY OF PUBLIC THANKSGIVING and PRAYER”.

Our thanking God for the harvest is usually celebrated in a church service where, in rural areas, local produce is brought into the church. We praise God for the life force which makes the plants grow and the animals reproduce. These are but analogous to the new life Jesus brought to all who look away from themselves to him in faith.

Jesus called the Word the seed and where it takes root it produces new orientation in that life transforming it as the scripture says, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2Corinthians Chapter 5 verse 17).

Our thanksgiving may be muted due to the presence of sin but we can look through the prophet Habakkuk’s eyes and see a coming day when, “the nations exhaust themselves for nothing for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk Chapter 2 verse 14).

For the believer temporal thanksgiving is always gathered up in that greater thanksgiving for the New Jerusalem with the harvest complete, “On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face”.

(Revelation 22 verses 2-4).