For the dusting of frost and the early nightfall,
For the crunch of leaves and the barn owl’s call.
For the patient hills and the furious winds,
For the torrent of anger that time can rescind…
We give thanks for quiet, and rustle and rain,
We give thanks for forests, the sun and the plains.
For the kindness of strangers whose gifts come for free,
And how in just noticing that, we can be –
More open to others, both living and gone,
More grateful to everyone hither and yon.

The times we are living in can be so stark,
We stumble around in the cold and the dark.
The bills pile up, the chores need to get done,
The news of the world makes all of us numb.
Yet we cannot pretend it’s not happening now,
In Ghaza, the Philippines, here in our town,
The ones who suffer feel empty and small,
Their voices are whispers behind a thick wall,
And we who are able to listen or act,
Must vow to reach out when faced with the fact –
That time does not stop for Love nor for Grief;
It rambles along like a mischievous thief.

’Til one day our “story-in-story” unfolds,
The truth is that humans are frail and bold.
We may be the one behind the thick wall,
or stuck in a marriage or ready to fall,
Yet courage can bloom when we meet eye to eye,
In sisterhood, brotherhood, someone says “why? –
are you thinking that you need to fix this alone?
Your life is a blessing, your presence is home –
to so many around you, who see who you are.
You’re known, and you’re treasured… so don’t you go far.”
Your membership here, is only a start,
Of the great world we live in, humanity’s heart.

All humans and creatures live under one sky;
We live in the beauty of this world so fine.
So though days are short and nights are so long,
And though time is fleeting like notes in a song,
The thing to remember this month of the year,
Is to sidle right up to the ones you hold dear.
Think long on the things that give you great stir,
Perfecting these thanks, then telling that sir, –
or madame or youth, all you want to convey.
Wait not for tomorrow, when subtle thoughts fade.
Tell them specifics, how it felt when you knew,
That they could be trusted; you could tell them the truth.
Tell them you love them, say you won’t shy away,
From caring or solving our fears of the day.
Speak of your love with your whimsey and wit.
Speak of it softly or tell it in bits,
Round a fireplace, cuddled up, in a child’s ear,
Out on a walk, or maybe right here.

We are grateful together this Thanksgiving time,
For the kindness of strangers, and old friends divine.
For spiced apples, and muffins and tea in a cup,
And the windy cold weather that makes us zip up.
We give thanks this morning for all that will come,
Since time stops for no one, not mother or son.
We turn to each other through thick and through thin,
Thanks be for this life, this “Great Room” that we’re in.

Wendell Berry stands before the solar panels on his farm in Henry County, KY. Photo by Guy Mendes

Wendell Berry stands before the solar panels on his farm in Henry County, KY. Photo by Guy Mendes

“Thanksgiving” was written by Rev. Megan Lynes, and she read it on Nov. 24, 2013 at First Parish in Bedford MA as part of the 9:00 AM Thanksgiving Service & Welcoming of New Members. The service, which was a team effort with Revs. John Gibbons, included inspiration and readings from Wendell Berry. Selected sermons are posted here.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.


4 thoughts on “Thanksgiving

  1. Pingback: Reflecting on the First Year of this Blog | Commentary by Allan

  2. Pingback: Add a seat to your table this Thanksgiving | Commentary by Allan

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