Simple Celebrations: An Etheree Poem

Appetite, Broiled, Calories, Catering

image: Pixabay

 

Year
Coming
To a close
Autumn rushes
Towards turkey feasts
Thanksgiving and Advent
And then merry Christmastide
Full of joy, indulgence and gifts
Our bank accounts strain from the effort
I prefer a sweet mistletoe kiss

 

This week  COLLEEN M. CHESEBRO has challenged us to write a syllabic poem using synonyms for the words “End & Hurry,” and on the theme of thanksgiving.  One of the forms she notes it the Etheree.   “An Etheree poem consists of ten lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 syllables. Etheree can also be reversed and written 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.  The trick is to create a memorable message within the required format.”

 

Living in the UK, Thanksgiving Day is just another Thursday, but the theme of holidays and family get-togethers does fill this time of year.  Please excuse my clumsy attempt to form the poem into a Christmas tree.

Padre

 

 

 

Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation: Tanka

Antietam, Maryland, Cannon, Battlefield

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

 

An Autumn wind blows
Over Antietam’s field
Abe admonishes
A nation in need of hope
To give trust and thanks above

 

In October 1863 the American Civil War (War Between the States) was in its third year.  1861 and most of ’62 had done badly for the Union.  Then a battle at Sharpsburg, Maryland gave a glimmer of short-lived hope.  But July ’63 saw victories at both Vicksburg and Gettysburg. At the prompting of Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, Lincoln called the nation to a day of thanksgiving.

Padre

posted on d’Verse

 

 

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Validated: A Haibun

people meeting in room

Photo by Antenna on Unsplash

The class was debating about who should be credited with being the first missionary.  Most were of the opinion that Peter should have the distinction as he brought the gospel to the Roman, Cornelius in Acts 10.  Others held that Philip should be given the distinction because he instructed the Ethiopia eunuch in chapter 8.  One female student was quiet throughout.  When she was finally asked to give her view, she responded, “Mary.” This met with some scorn from her fellows.  When she was asked to defend her view she said, “Mary was the first to proclaim, ‘He is risen’,” a point quickly agreed with by the instructor.  She shot the teacher a shy smile of thanks.

Appreciation 
A little smile and a blush
Now validated

Padre

(Based on an actual lesson)

Written for d’Verse Haibun Monday 11/24/19: Gratitude

Thanksgiving

It’s more than just Pilgrims and turkey, but an attitude that should underlay our lives.  Brother Rich opened our family service this week with a reading from Colossians 2 verses 6 and 7.  “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”  As Paul noted, our thanks should be overflowing.  Why?  Because our blessings overflow.  

In First Thessalonians 5: 16-18, Paul again exhorts, Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you!”

As we find ourselves in circumstances we should rejoice and be thankful.  Okay, sometimes bad things happen, but even these teach us, or make us stronger.  The same family service also included a baby dedication.  This clearly is a joyful thing, and thanking God for the new life, and the prospects that that life holds is a obvious thing.  It is sad, however to note, that the parents of that wonderful little girl had had several earlier pregnancies, but this is their first surviving child.  Fair to say, she is even more appreciated and brings so much joy and fulfillment.

After the service we had a congregational “thanksgiving” meal.  This too is a point that we shared together not only God’s bounty, but fellowship and, because of the mixed nature of our church, cultural enrichment.  Time with those who you hold dear, and who are called to the same purpose is something we should always give thanks for.

Thanks in adversity, however, is not easy.  I recently lost my wife to cancer.  Though I could be bitter or railed against God, it was not my first inclination.  Instead, I have been thankful that she is no longer in pain, and I am thankful that I had so many years with a woman who loved me, cared for me, and framed so much of who I am.  I can indeed “give thanks in all circumstances.”

As the American turkey day approaches, take a moment to give thanks for all you have, and all you have learned.  Give thanks for this day that the Lord has made.

Padre

 

 

Yes, In Christ

Rainbow, Beautiful, Devon, Nature, Sun

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

If you are reading this, I can safely assume you are alive today and that you have awoken.  You have life and breath.  It is reasonable to also hold that you have access to the wealth sufficient to have acquired the use of some manner of electronic device, and to a source of electricity.  It is also probably safe to conclude that you have some level of literacy, and some leisure time to read a screen.  Yes, you have blessings today.  But have you said, “Thank you?”

In the words of the old hymn, “Bless God from whom all blessings flow . . . .”  For most of us, in addition to the blessings above, we have some measure of health, and the majority have safe water, and something to eat.  Need I go on?

God clothes the lilies of the field and feeds the sparrows.  He cares for each and every one of us.  A care so great, that He took it to a whole new level.  John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  God promises salvation for those who seek it.  He promises His unending love.  He promises us life everlasting.

Back on 22 November ’18, Dianne made a simple entry in her journal, it captured this assurance.

2 Corinthians 1:20
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.”

God keeps all of His promises.  In Christ they are a “Yes.”  Let us remember to say “Thank you” and “Amen.”

Padre

“Look What I Did!”

images (1)

I have written before about the prevalent attitude of entitlement.  Hand in hand with this is the obsession with fame, glory, and celebrity.  Society revels in the Kardashians, “reality” champions, and X Y Zs that “Got Talent.” If we are honest, “Look, they are winners!” and “Look what they achieved;” comments often belie the true desire to be so recognised ourselves.

People often see all gains in life as the result of human effort: “I earned a promotion,” and “Look what I did.” It is bad enough to hear my students say such things like “We won the match,” when not one of them was on the field, much less even on the team. But such flippant self-congratulations are more than just mis-speaking, they are a form of vanity. To be fair, I have done (and do) this as well.  But, are we giving credit where credit is due?

It is refreshing, and informative therefore that in Psalm 44 we find a reality check,

“We have heard it with our ears, O God; our ancestors have told us
what you did in their days, in days long ago. With your hand you drove out the nations and planted our ancestors;
you crushed the peoples and made our ancestors flourish. It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory;
it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them (verses 1-3).”

The Psalmist rightly notes two key facts.  The first, is that they listened to a true testimony (wow, they listened to their elders, teachers, and priests).  But more importantly, they acknowledged that blessing, and accomplishments were in the hands of God.

In Evan Almighty there is a scene when Evan prays, thanking God for what had been provided.  Good start.  He goes one to thank God for his home, but lapses into the “Kardashian” attitude of “but I picked it out.” Me, Myself, and I; not Thee, Thou, and Thine.

As we look at “what I have done,” let us keep some perspective. Yes, we have made effort.  Yes, we have accomplished tasks. But the blessing is from the Lord.  Even the very talents, skills, beauty, intelligence, etc. that enabled such accomplishments came from Him.  There is no such thing as a “self-made man (woman).”

Let us be hesitant to say “Look at what I did,” and be readily prepared to note “What He has done.”  Let’s give credit where credit is due.

Padre