Rev. Karen Gibson: God’s providence is still present

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— I love the Thanksgiving season.

For me, it starts around Oct. 31 when those fall festivals start being advertised.

I like orange pumpkins that take on a new meaning because of what they are converted into on Thanksgiving Day. I like corn stalks clumped together like they have around Baltic, Ohio. I like cornucopias with all those vegetables and fruits flowing forth from the wide-mouthed bell of horn-shaped baskets.

And, I remember the smell of apples.

Apples have a nostalgic fragrance that take me back to the times as a child when my father would drive to Muckley’s Orchards outside of Magnolia. There, we would pick out a half-bushel of Red Delicious apples and a half-bushel of Yellow Delicious apples.

Oh, how fresh and sweet smelling they were on the floor of the back seat of the car. I sat right beside them, so I remember that fragrant, pungent smell. No other time of the year could smell that good.

I also love the tradition of Thanksgiving Day. For some, football is almost as important as the turkey, but for me, I remember a large table with turkey and all the “fixins.” It was sitting around the big table (or the card table) with all my siblings or cousins, patiently waiting for each dish to be passed to me so I could put a spoonful of that tantalizing food on my plate.

Our traditions are important. They provide structure in our lives, and as you can tell from my recollections, they create fond memories that we can look forward to again and again.

Thanksgiving Day tells who we are as a nation, but individually, we each have a story, also.

My Thanksgiving traditions continue to change as I discover not everyone is fortunate enough to have received the blessings of sitting around the table with eight siblings, a mother and father, grandparents and other uncles, aunts and cousins.

Nowadays, the tradition of seeing that others have a traditional Thanksgiving meal similar to those I did has become part of my tradition. The food on Thanksgiving Day tastes better knowing others are enjoying a meal similar to mine.

In the midst of all the challenges that come with providing meals for others, I see God at work in those from this community and afar who have donated the money for Thanksgiving Shares.

I see God at work in those who call or sign up to help organize or deliver the Thanksgiving Shares, and I see God at work in the lives of those who receive the Thanksgiving Shares.

Some may not even realize it, but all have experienced God’s blessing, God’s grace and God’s mercy.

God’s providence was offered to the Israelites as they entered the Promised Land, and the story still holds true for us today.

“You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you.” Deuteronomy 8:10.

As you celebrate Thanksgiving Day with family and friends sharing your traditions, don’t forget to take time as you sit around your table to remember God, pray and be thankful.

Rev. Karen Gibson is the overall site coordinator of SHARE Craig and co-pastor of Friendship United Methodist Church

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