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 the way God pressed into me this year, expanding my trust and loosening my grip. And the way Tessa can’t wait to walk the path to my mother’s, a place she feels loved and welcomed. I think of Luke and how he made himself vulnerable to our family in the confessing of an insecurity. And how my heart patiently waits on the Lord because I love him so. I think of my friend Courtney who loves me through her words of encouragement and attentive spirit. I think of our pigs and the ways we have fed them, sang to them, and loved them well as they live and work on our land. And how Mark diligently cares for the earth entrusted to him, noticing all the details and changes, hoping his children will too. I think of a special friendship and how it worked hard this year to trust and communicate deeper. And how our church family fasted alongside our family and patiently waits with us in a story who’s page never seems to turn. I think of Tom and how our hearts ache for each other because family is more complete with him in it.
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 will sit down as a family sometime in the week before Thanksgiving 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 we will laugh and our hearts will swell as we remember and re-experience the moments together. 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
Check out our harvest from last year!
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.