I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know much about harvesting any type of agricultural crop. Still, whether or not we gather in food from fields or gardens, we all have the opportunity to bring in a harvest each year for which we can give thanks.
Sometimes I’m the one who has planted and watered the crop. Maybe it’s a piece of writing or an international adventure. This year I’ve spent much time in front of my computer editing a book and planning a two week pilgrimage to England. Though I may be tempted to think it was my effort that made it possible to see this book taking form or to participate in the C. S. Lewis Summer Institute; I need to acknowledge that my thanks needs to go out to many people, even many I will never know.
Even more, much of the harvest I find before me has very little to do with my effort. It comes through so many others in my life.
This year I’m thankful for the harvest
of love from
- my mother who passed along unconditional love until her last days;
- family who continues to surround and support one another;
- friends who have come beside me in my worst moments;
of beauty from
- a myriad of books;
- paintings, poetry, ballet, and music;
- God’s creation;
of opportunity and learning from
- InterVarsity Christian Fellowship;
- C. S. Lewis Institute in Cincinnati;
- writing and book groups.
Giving thanks for this bountiful harvest can be humbling because looking at these gifts forces me to recognize that I can not survive alone in this world. No wonder the psalmist writes that “I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord” (Psalm 116:17). The act of thanksgiving can indeed be a sacrifice of our self-centered, prideful selves.
But the more we offer this thanks, the more open we are to the joy that comes through seeing the harvest around us. We can let go of the need to be in charge and instead gather and share it. How sad if I had only looked back at what I could do – it would be a meager harvest. But through giving thanks I realize a freedom to enjoy and share what God has given through so many people. It’s a bountiful harvest.
What harvest are you giving thanks for today?