“Remember God’s bounty in the year. String the pearls of His favor.
Hide the dark parts, except so far as they are breaking out in light!
Give this one day to thanks, to joy, to gratitude !”
– Henry Ward Beecher .
The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.
No Americans have been more impoverished than these who,
nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.
– H.U. Westermayer .
“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson .
“If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is
‘thank you’, that would suffice.”
– Meister Eckhart .
Thanksgiving Day is a jewel,to set in the hearts
of honest men;but be careful that you do
not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.
– E.P. Powell .
So once in every year we throng
Upon a day apart,
To praise the Lord with feast and song
In thankfulness of heart.
– Arthur Guiterman .
“Our rural ancestors, with little blest,
Patient of labour when the end was rest,
Indulged the day that housed their annual grain,
With feasts, and off’rings, and a thankful strain.”
– Alexander Pope .
“What we’re really talking about is a wonderful
day set asideon the fourth Thursday of November
when no one diets. I mean,
why else would they call it Thanksgiving ?”
– Erma Bombeck .
Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.
– W. J. Cameron .
The King’s Thanksgiving
Every child in the village was very much excited
on account of the news that had come down from the
castle on the hill.Because it had been such a rich harvest,
the fields yellow with grain and the orchards crimson
with fruit, the King was going to keep a thanksgiving day.
He was going to ask some child from the village to come
up the hill to the castle and eat dinner with the Prince and Princess.
It was rumored, too, that this child would be given good gifts
by the King. But it must be a very special kind of child indeed.
That’s they all knew.
Then the village children remembered everything
that had been told them by their mothers,
and their grandmothers, and their great-grandmothers
about the castle kitchen. Scores of cooks and scullery boys
were kept busy there night and day. The fires always glowed
to roast the rich fowls that turned on the spits. The cake bowls
and the soup pots were never empty. Spices and herbs from far
countries, strawberries when the ground was covered with snow,
ices of all the rainbow colors, and cream so thick that a knife
could cut it—all these were to be found in the King’s kitchen.
There were dishes of gold and silver upon which to serve the fine
foods, and a hothouse of rare flowers with which to deck the table,
and linen as fine as a cobweb and as beautiful in pattern as
snowflakes to cover it. Oh, a thanksgiving day in the castle
would be very wonderful indeed, the children thought,
and each hoped that he or she would be chosen to go.
The day before this day of thanksgiving the messenger
of the King came down from the castle and went from door to door
of the homes in the village. He went first to the house of the burgomaster.
It was a very pretentious house with tall pillars in front,
and it stood on a wide street. It seemed likely that the burgomaster’s
child might be chosen to go with the messenger to the castle for
the thanksgiving. She was dressed in silk, and her hair was curled,
and the burgomaster had packed a great hamper with sweets
as an offering for the King.
“Are you ready to keep the feast as the King would like you to?”
asked the messenger.
“Oh, yes!” said the burgomaster’s child. “I have on my best dress,
and here are plenty of sweets to eat. Will you take me?”
But the messenger shook his head, for the child was not ready
Then the King’s messenger went on until he came to the house
where the captain of the guards lived. The captain’s little boy was
quite sure that he would be chosen to go with the messenger to
the castle for the thanksgiving. He wore a uniform with silver
braid and buttons like that which the guards wore. A sword hung
at his side, and he wore a soldier’s cap. He held the cap in his hand,
so that he could put it on quickly.
“Are you ready to keep the thanksgiving day as the King would like you to?”
asked the messenger.
“Oh, yes!” said the child of the captain of the guards.
“I have my sword here and I can fight any one who crosses our path
on the way to the castle. Will you take me?”
But the messenger went on again and he came to the baker’s shop.
The baker’s boy stood at the door, dressed in his best white suit,
and holding an empty basket on his arm. He was quite sure that he
would be chosen to go to the palace, for his father’s bake shop was
an important place in the village. They measured their flour carefully,
and weighed the loaves so that they might receive the utmost penny for each.
They very seldom had any crumbs left for the poor, but they were
selling a great deal of bread every day.
“Are you ready to keep the thanksgiving day as the King would
like you to?” the messenger asked of the baker’s boy.
“Oh, yes!” the boy said. “I have this basket to gather up whatever
remains of the King’s feast and bring it home with me.
The King would not want anything wasted. Will you take me?”
But the messenger shook his head a third time,
for the child was not ready.
Then he did not know which way to go, and he began to think
that he would not be able to find any guest for the King’s feast.
As he waited, he saw two children, a girl and a boy, coming toward him.
They were poor children, and one was leading the other, for he
was lame. The messenger looked at them. The little girl had eyes
like stars and her hair, blowing in the November wind, was like a
cloud made golden by the sunset. She held her head so high,
and smiled so bravely that no one would have noticed her old
dress and the holes in her coat. The messenger stood in the
road in front of her and spoke to her.
“Are you ready to keep the thanksgiving day as the King
would like you to?” he asked.
The little girl looked up in the messenger’s face in surprise.
“No, I am not ready,” she said, “but this child is.
I am bringing him because he is lame, and because he is hungry.
Will you take him?” she asked.
“Yes,” said the messenger, “and you, too.
There is room at the King’s table for both.”
Sandra felt as low as the heels of her Birkenstocks as she pushed
against a November gust and the florist shop door. Her life had
been easy, like a spring breeze.
Then in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor
automobile accident stole her ease. During this Thanksgiving
week she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss.
As if that weren’t enough her husband’s company threatened a transfer.
Then her sister, whose holiday visit she coveted, called saying
she could not come. What’s worse, Sandra’s friend infuriated her
by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity
that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer.
“Had she lost a child? -No–she has no idea what I’m feeling,”
Sandra shuddered. Thanksgiving? “Thankful for what?” she wondered.
For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he
rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life but took that of her
“Good afternoon, can I help you?” The flower shop clerk’s approach
startled her. “Sorry,” said Jenny, “I just didn’t want you to think
I was ignoring you.”
“I….I need an arrangement.”
“Do you want beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to
challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the
Jenny saw Sandra’s curiosity and continued.
“I’m convinced that flowers tell stories, that each arrangement
insinuates a particular feeling.
Are you looking for something that conveys
gratitude this Thanksgiving?”
“Not exactly!” Sandra blurted. “Sorry, but in the last five months,
everything that could go wrong has.” Sandra regretted her outburst
but was surprised when Jenny said,
“I have the perfect arrangement for you.”
The door’s small bell suddenly rang.
“Barbara! Hi,” Jenny said. She politely excused herself from Sandra
and walked toward a small workroom. She quickly reappeared
carrying a massive arrangement of greenery, bows, and
long-stemmed thorny roses. Only, the ends of the rose stems
were neatly snipped, no flowers.
“Want this in a box?” Jenny asked.
Sandra watched for Barbara’s response. Was this a joke?
Who would want rose stems and no flowers! She waited for laughter,
for someone to notice the absence of flowers atop the thorny stems,
but neither woman did.
“Yes, please. It’s exquisite,” said Barbara. “You’d think after three
years of getting the special, I’d not be so moved by its significance,
but it’s happening again. My family will love this one. Thanks.”
Sandra stared. “Why so normal a conversation about so strange
an arrangement? she wondered.
“Ah, said Sandra, pointing. “That lady just left with, ah…..”
“Well, she had no flowers!”
“Right, I cut off the flowers.”
“Yep. That’s the Special. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet.”
“But, why do people pay for that?” In spite of herself she chuckled.”
“Do you really want to know?”
“I couldn’t leave this shop without knowing.
I’d think about nothing else!”
“That might be good,” said Jenny. “Well,” she continued,
“Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling
very much like you feel today. She thought she had very little
to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer,
the family business was failing, her son
was into drugs, and she faced major surgery.”
“Ouch!” said Sandra.
“That same year, I lost my husband. I assumed complete
responsibility for the shop and for the first time, spent the holidays alone.
I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too great
a debt to allow any travel.”
“What did you do?”
“I learned to be thankful for thorns.”
Sandra’s eyebrows lifted. “Thorns?”
“I’m a Christian, Sandra. I’ve always thanked God
for good things in life and I never thought to ask Him why
good things happened to me? But, when bad stuff hit, did I
ever ask! It took time to learn that dark times are important.
I always enjoyed the ‘flowers’ of life but
it took thorns to show me the beauty of God’s comfort. You know,
the Bible says that God comforts us when we’re afflicted and from His
consolation we learn to comfort others.”
Sandra gasped. “A friend read that passage to me and I was furious!
I guess the truth is I don’t want comfort. I’ve lost a baby and I’m
angry with God.” She started to ask Jenny to “go on” when the door’s
bell diverted their attention.
“Hey, Phil!” shouted Jenny as a balding, rotund man entered the shop.
She softly touched Sandra’s arm and moved to welcome him.
He tucked her under his side for a warm hug.
“I’m here for twelve thorny long-stemmed stems!”
Phil laughed, heartily.
“I figured as much,” said Jenny. “I’ve got them ready.”
She lifted a tissue-wrapped arrangement from the refrigerated cabinet.
“Beautiful,” said Phil. “My wife will love them.”
Sandra could not resist asking. “These are for your wife?”
Phil saw that Sandra’s curiosity matched his when
he first heard of a Thorn Bouquet.
“Do you mind me asking, “Why thorns?”
“In fact, I’m glad you asked,” he said. “Four years ago my wife
and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but we
slogged through, problem by rotten problem. We rescued
our marriage- our love, really. Last year at Thanksgiving
I stopped in here forflowers. I must have mentioned surviving
a tough process because Jenny told me that for a long time
she kept a vase of rosestems-stems!-as a reminder of what she
learned from “thorny” times. That was good enough for me.
I took home stems. My wife and I decided to label each one
for a specific thorny situation and give thanks for what the
problem taught us. I’m pretty sure this stem review is
becoming a tradition.”
Phil paid Jenny, thanked her again and as he left, said to Sandra,
“I highly recommend the Special!”
“I don’t know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life.”
Sandra said to Jenny.
“Well, my experience says that thorns make roses more precious.
We treasure God’s providential care more during trouble than at any
other time. Remember, Sandra, Jesus wore a crown of thorns so
that we might know His love. Do not resent thorns.”
Tears rolled down Sandra’s cheeks. For the first time since
the accident she loosened her grip on resentment. “I’ll take twelve
long-stemmed thorns, please.”
“I hoped you would,” Jenny said. “I’ll have them ready in a minute.
Then, every time you see them, remember to appreciate
both good and hard times. We grow through both.”
“Thank you. What do I owe you?”
“Nothing. Nothing but a pledge to work toward healing your heart.
The first year’s arrangement is always on me.” Jenny handed a card
to Sandra. “I’ll attach a card like this to your arrangement but
maybe you’d like to read it first. Go ahead, read it.”
” My God, I have never thanked Thee for my thorn! I have thanked
Thee a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorn.
Teach me the glory of the cross I bear, teach me the value of my thorns.
Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain.
Show me that my tears have made my rainbow.–George Matheson”
Jenny said, “Happy Thanksgiving, Sandra,” handing her the Special.”
“I look forward to our knowing each other better.”
Sandra smiled. She turned, opened the door and walked toward hope.
hey had got “way through,” as Terry said, to the nuts.
It had been a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner so far. Grandmother’s
sweet face beamed down the length of the great table, over all the
little curly grand-heads, at Grandfather’s face. Everybody felt very thankful.
”I wish all the children this side of the North Pole had some turkey, too,
and squash, and cranberry – and things,” Silence said quietly.
Silence was always thinking of beautiful things like that.
“And some nuts,” Terry said, setting his small white teeth into
the meat of a big fat walnut.
“It wouldn’t seem like Thanksgiving without nuts.”
“I know somebody who would be thankful with just nuts,”
“Indeed, I think that he would rather have them for all the
courses of his Thanksgiving dinner!”
“Just nuts! No turkey, or pudding, or anything?”
The curly grand-heads all bobbed up from their plates and
nut pickers in amazement. Just nuts!
“Yes! Guess who he is.” Grandfather’s laughing eyes twinkled
up the long table at Grandmother. “I’ll give you three guesses apiece,
beginning with Heart’s Delight. Guess number one, Heart’s Delight.”
“Chip.” Heart’s Delight had guessed it at the very first guess.
“Chip!” laughed all the little grand-boys and girls.
“Why, of course! Chip! He would rather have just nuts
for his Thanksgiving dinner.”
“I wish he had some of mine,” cried Silence.
“And mine!” cried Terry, and all the others wished that he had some of theirs.
What a Thanksgiving dinner little Chip would have had!
“He’s got plenty, thank you.” It was the shy little voice
of Heart’s Delight. A soft pink color had come into her round
cheeks. Everybody looked at her in surprise, for how did Heart’s Delight
know that Chip had plenty of nuts? Then Terry remembered something.
“Oh, that’s where her nuts went to!” he cried.
“Heart’s Delight gave them to Chip! We couldn’t think what
she had done with them all.”
Heart’s Delight’s cheeks grew pinker – very pink indeed.
“Yes, that’s where,” said Silence, leaning over to squeeze one
of Heart’s Delight’s little hands. And sure enough, it was.
In the beautiful nut month of October, when the children went
after their winter’s supply of nuts, Heart’s Delight had left all her
little rounded heap just where bright-eyed, nut-hungry Squirrel
Chip would be sure to find them and hurry them away to his hole.
And Chip had found them, she was sure, for not one was left when
she went back to see the next day.
“Why, maybe, this very minute – right now – Chip is cracking
his Thanksgiving dinner,” Terry laughed.
“Just as we are! Maybe he’s come to the nut course – but they are
all nut courses. And maybe he’s sitting up at his table with the
rest of his folks, thanksgiving to Heart’s Delight,” Silence said.
Heart’s Delight’s little shy face nearly hid itself over her plate.
This was dreadful! It was necessary to change the conversation at once,
and a dear little thought came to her aid.
“But I’m afraid Chip hasn’t got any grandfather or grandmother at
his Thanksgiving,” she said softly. “I should think it would be hard
to give thanks without any grandfather and grandmother.”
Thank you Lord for the sky that’s blue
and the sun so bright.
Thank you Lord for providing for me
a loving home and family.
Thank you Lord for the helping hands
of friends and volunteers throughout the lands.
Thank you Lord for listening ear
and the joy of knowing you are near.
Thank you Lord for giving to us
your words of wisdom, guidance, and the path
leading to happiness.
So as Thanksgiving Day draws near
and we sit at our table with those so dear
PLEASE don’t forget to invite our Heavenly
Host for he is the one we give thanks to most.