Harvest Festivals are celebrated by many cultures and occur around the time of a region’s main harvest. They often include feasting and giving thanks for the earth’s bounty. This celebration is echoed around the globe, at different times and in slightly different ways but with one thing in common: gratitude. Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful or the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Gratitude is the centrepiece of the world’s major religions, too, from Christianity to Islam to the Jewish faith. Psychologists report that being grateful is directly linked to a greater sense of wellbeing.
Last week, at St. Thomas’ Church, the children, staff and families gathered together on a beautiful, sunny, autumn afternoon to celebrate the harvest. As the children were humbly carrying their tins of baked beans and tuna to the table, a harvest to be shared with families in our community who are in need of a helping hand, it struck me that there is so much to be grateful for…I am grateful:
… that my family lives in a safe and friendly community
… for the education that my children are able to receive from the caring and dedicated teachers at Stanhope Barrington
…that we live in a country that has access to quality health care
….when the sun shines on our beautiful community
…for the smiles on the children’s faces as they stood with their friends and belted out their harvest songs
What are the things that you are grateful for during this season of Thanksgiving and Harvest?
Christian Aid Harvest prayer
The earth is fruitful, may we be generous.
The earth is fragile, may we be gentle.
The earth is fractured, may we be just.
Creating God, harvest in us joy and generosity
as we together share in thanks and giving.