To harvest is to gather. To recognize what is ripe and to collect and enjoy the fruits of a season. And then we feast. We let the sweet and savory crops satisfy us. And we give thanks for what’s been given.
Oh that we would be a people who do this with love! That we would recognize this fruit of the Spirit that has grown and ripened in the season we’re living right now. That we would collect our experiences and memories of the love given and received. Of the seeds planted with grace, and the witness of love growing and maturing in and around us.
What are these stories for your family? For your home? For those with whom you work? For those you fellowship with? What are the stories of love, given and received, witnessed and experienced, that yields your bushel of thanksgiving this year?
Let us count them. Talk about them. Remember them. Let us revisit those moments and feelings that have allowed us to reap more of Christ in our life.
I immediately think of our friends who said yes to adoption. And the way Tessa misses Tom. And how Connor and Lydia Jane proclaimed their love for Jesus. And how I held a little girl who I loved before I met. I think of specific encouragement given to me by people I don’t know very well. And how the Ebelings are embracing Thailand. And how our church family seeks to love through shared life and worship. I think about Veronica and how love made their family. And how the marriages close to me are transparent and vulnerable in ways that deepen love in them and me. I think of Mark and how he can’t wait to come home everyday. And how we can’t wait to receive him. I think of the way my children love my sister’s children. And how Tessa cares and worries for her little kitty every day. I think of all the ways God pursues me, softens me, and makes me new….all in love.
There is so much love around us. And I want to notice and give thanks. I’m curious to hear what my children remember.
A few years ago, we started a Thanksgiving tradition of building An Altar of Thankfulness, a tree hung with offerings of gratitude and praise to the provider of all things good and perfect.
This year, we will continue our tradition, but instead of ornaments that represent things we are thankful for, we will be gathering a harvest of love. We will hang ornaments that share love moments from this past year, so we may feast together on this fruit that satisfies the soul.
Want to join us? You can imitate ours, or create something of your own. Or skip the visual all together and simply harvest love through a conversation over a meal or around a fire with those you love.
Here’s how we’re doing it: I started with the old bushel basket my Grandma Pippin used to gather her ripe goods from the garden. This basket will hold a harvest this year that she would be so proud of.
We plan to sit down as a family and talk together about our seeds of love we plant all year long. And how God grows them and nourishes them into new life within us. As we recall moments and words and expressions of love, we will write them down on the heart ornaments and hang them on the tree. And in the days surrounding Thanksgiving, we will keep harvesting and adding and praying that God would allow this love to nourish our spirits.
A vase or basket (it can be made smaller than mine to set upon a table or shelf)
A gathered bunch of twigs or branches
Paper cut into ornaments (At Michael’s I found these sheets of scrapbook paper and a tool to cut out the hearts.)
Ribbon or string to tie to the paper ornaments
Givers and receivers of love to pen their memories and love moments to the ornaments
As children of God, I pray we are sowers and reapers of love, gathering a harvest on this earth that we’ll be feasting on for eternity. Blessings on each of you as you walk in thankfulness this month. May it lead us to deeper love and appreciation for who God is and what he’s doing in and around us.