Pastor's Pen
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November 18, 2015, 9:30 AM

11 Days to Thanksgiving


Eleven Days to Thanksgiving


   You might remember Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) who was best known for her short stories Bliss (1920), and her writing of what became known as a collection of The Garden Party (1922).  She was a pilgrim in Switzerland, resting for some time to recuperate from complications with tuberculosis, which took her life in 1923 at the age of 34.

   She was, as some might remember, an unbeliever. As her health mended and her strength was renewed, she began to take note of her surroundings. She noted the natural beauty of Switzerland, the majestic mountains, and she was invigorated by the crisp air that she now breathed with joy.  In renewed spirit, she wrote to a friend: “If only one could make some small grasshopper sound of praise to someone … some thanks to someone, but who?”

   Had sad! Possessed with a need to say, “Thank you,” and no one to thank! T.S. Eliot has written that we should “let your memory lead you.”

   It is good advice, and our memories should lead us as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday to give thanks.  Epictetus wrote that we are wise when we do not grieve for the things we do not have, but when we rejoice for all the things that we do have. There are so many things for which I am thankful for today …

… my family, our children and grandchildren, who have brought new meaning to love for me and constantly encourage me to be a good person.

… my parents, who nourished me in faith and taught me the true values that undergird a well-lived life … even when I did not always understand their teachings at the time.

… our church and its people, whose encouragement and affirmation have enabled us to sustain a relationship now in its 10th year, where together we have sought to do the work of God.

… our faithful choir, who gives strong framework to our services of worship all year long, and is a reminder that ours is a faith whose note of joy makes us want to sing.

… to the men and women of all our churches, who have taken seriously “letting their light shine” in consistent ways that enables us to nurture one another and help others here in Ardmore.

   Think about your circle of love. Maybe you can remember, that as a child, you sat with your parents and siblings in the evening ready for bed, that you learned to reflect, to be at peace with God and yourself, and to be lost in thought as you prepared for bed. It is important to take time to reflect, to “let your memory guide you,” and to give thanks for all of God’s blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving!  11.15.2015

Dr. Rick Baggett is pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Ardmore (the church with the bells) and can be reached at:























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