Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thanksgiving is a Life-Style/MANN

Thanksgiving is not just a season, it's a lifestyle. It's not just a feast with opportunity to gather the family around the table—it's an accumulation of blessings focused on a time and day. While writing my last two historical novels, I was reminded of the difference in the way that Eastern and Western Canada celebrated over the years. It had been called the Season of Abundant Harvest at one time. 

Wainwright Star stated Sunday was a time of remembering and giving thanks in spite of the summer's drought and failed crops. This season celebrated mainly in the church and around the family table was also emphasized around Armistice Day as a day of Remembrance and Thanksgiving and to offer thanks (Wainwright Star Oct. 1, 1919).  Another perspective of thanksgiving is shown in this child's experience of her offering in the 90s: 

"Being used to inserting my offering in the small envelope provided in the church pew when I visit a church, I picked up the only one available when it came time for the offering. Quickly I noticed that my six year old granddaughter had playfully drawn pictures and printed her name and address across it. Thinking she wouldn't mind, I carefully rubbed her name and addresses off the face of the envelope so the church wouldn't send her a receipt for my five-dollar bill. 

Shades of playing the board game "Life" the previous day, explained her boldly written request "I want $100.00 followed by a happy-face." Rather than having the church elders think I was expecting a reverse offering, I rubbed her request off the envelope before placing the envelope on the plate as it was passed by me. 

Unknown to me, my granddaughter spotted her envelope with her carefully drawn row of daisies across the top, as it rode along in the offering plate. Much to the dismay of her father, she attempted to take her envelope out, to which he gently pulled her hand away.

Being confused as to why her daisy trimmed envelope had suddenly gone into the hands of adults unknown to her, she began to pout and sulked down in her seat. During the children's story, she refused to go to the front of the church and continued to play with her fingers and look down at her feet. I reached behind to the back of my pew, retrieved two new blank envelopes and offered them to her. But to no avail—forgiveness was not an option at this time. She continued to withdraw, although she had moved out into the aisle and was watching from a distance.

Acknowledging she had misunderstood the use of the envelopes, I went over and knelt beside her in the aisle of the church and said, "Thank you for preparing the envelope. Grandma put some money in it and gave it to God. It was such a nice present with your pretty flowers. I'm sorry if I gave away something you wanted. For you to give to God that which you wanted to keep for yourself  makes it very special—that is a true offering.  Is it all right to give it to God?" 
She nodded and tried to smile. With that, she pushed back into the seat, prepared another envelope identical to the first one—without the rub-offs and went on her way to Sunday school. This was an active act of forgiveness within a service of forgiveness—holy ground.

Coming soon: 
Aggie's Voice - Agnes Macphail in Stratford. The final book in the Aggie trilogy
A Rare Find - Ethel Ayres Bullymore:  Legend of an Epic Canadian Midwife


Carolyn R. Wilker said...

Thank you for sharing your story about your granddaughter. I can picture that daisy-edged envelope.

Peter Black said...

Donna, as with Carolyn, I could picture the envelope; in fact, the whole scenario unfolded in my mind as I read. The 'teachable moment' was well seized by the grandma, too. ~~+~~

Donna Mann said...

Thanks for your words. I'm fond of that story too. Even though it's a 90s experience, it seems like yesterday to me.

Ed Hird+ said...

This is a helpful article. For some reason, I am unable to post my article today. Perhaps someone could advise me.

Ed Hird ed_hird@telus.net

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