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Quotes to Ponder
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We Gather Together

It's that time of year when we pull out all the books on Pilgrims and Indians and Thanksgiving. We collect leaves, acorns, and pine cones, count our blessings, and plan Thanksgiving dinner. It's a quiet, thoughtful time of year.

This morning a friend reminded me of Thanksgiving in the Mitford books. If you've never read this series, you should. It is wonderful. I would like to share some snippets from one of the Thanksgivings in Mitford. Sit back and enjoy the characters, the descriptions, the action, the food, the prayers, and the love woven throughout Jan Karon's Mitford ...

The annual All-Church Feast, convening this Thanksgiving Day at Lord's Chapel, was drawing its largest crowd in years. Villagers trooped across the churchyard hooting and laughing, as if to a long-awaited family reunion.
It was one of his favorite times of the year, hands down.
People he saw only at the post office or The Local were, on this day, eager to give him the details of their gallbladder operation, inquire how he liked married life, boast of their grandchildren, and debate the virtues of pan dressing over stuffing.
This year, the Presbyterians were kicking in the turkeys, which were, by one account, "three whoppers."

Page forward to after the dinner ...

Following the regimental trooping to the dessert table, someone rattled a spoon against a water glass. No one paid the slightest attention.
Somebody shouted, "Quiet, please!" but the plea was lost in the din of voices.
Esther Bolick stepped to the parish hall piano, sat down, and played the opening bars of a ragtime favorite at an intense volume.
A hush settled over the assembly, except for the kitchen crew, who was lamenting a spinach casserole somebody forgot to set out.
"Hymn two-ninety!" announced the rector, as the youth group finished passing out song sheets. "And let me hear those calories burn!"
Esther gave a mighty intro, and everyone stood and sang lustily.

Come, ye thankful people, come
Raise the song of harvest home
All is safely gathered in
Ere the winter storms begin
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied
Come to God's own temple, come
Raise the song of harvest home.

Baptists warbled with Anglicans, Presbyterians harmonized with Methodists, and the Lutherans who had trickled in from Wesley gave a hand with the high notes.

Let's leap some more pages to where they are cleaning up and making baskets to bring around to those that weren't able to come to the church ...

"Line up and collect your baskets," hollered Esther Cunningham, "and hot foot it out of here! This is not a cold-cut dinner you're deliverin'."
The delivery squad obediently queued up at the kitchen door.
"If you could knock th' Baptists out of this deal," said Charlie Tucker, "we'd have somethin' left to go in these baskets. Baptists eat like they're bein' raptured before dark."
"It wasn't the Baptists who gobbled up the turkey," said Esther Bollick, appearing to know.
"Well, it sure wasn't the Methodists," retorted Jena Ivey, taking it personally. "We like fried chicken!"
"It was the dadgum Lutherans!" announced Mule, picking up the basket for Coot Hendrick's mother. "Outlanders from Wesley!"
Everyone howled with laughter, including the Lutherans, who had personally observed the Episcopalians eating enough turkey to sink an oil freighter.

One final section of a Mitford Thanksgiving ...

Abner Hickman came in the back door of the parish hall, returned from taking his kids home.
"Y'all want to see a sunset?"
A little murmur of excitement ran through the cleanup crew. Mitford was a place where showy sunsets were valued.
"Better get up to th' wall," declared Abner, "and step on it."
Esther Bolick parked her carpet sweeper in a corner. "Drop everything and let's go! Life is short."
They piled into vans and cars and screeched out of the parking lot, gunning their engines all the way to the steep crest of Old Church Lane, where they tumbled out and raced to the stone wall that overlooked the Land of Counterpane.
"Good heavens!"
"That's a big 'un, all right."
Little by little, the sharp intakes of breath and the murmurs and whooping subsided, and they stood there, lined up along the wall, gazing at the wonder of a sunset that blazed across the heavens. Where the sun was sinking, the skies ran with molten crimson that spread above the mountains like watercolor, changing to orange and pink, lavender and gold. A cool fire of platinum rimmed the profile of Gabriel Mountain and the dark, swelling ridges on either side.

Well, I hope you enjoyed those snippets from Mitford. We just returned from a weeklong vacation. We went camping and visited friends that we don't often see. The weather didn't always cooperate, but even pouring rain couldn't spoil the joy of being gathered together. It was wonderful and truly a gift from the Lord. Let's give Him all our thanks and praises!!

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; - 2 Thessalonians 1:3

For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. - 1 Thessalonians 2:13

Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah. - Psalms 24:3-6

I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; - 1 Corinthians 1:4

November 17, 1998
1998 by Kathy Ridpath
Please ask for permission to reprint this article, ridpath@chfweb.com. Thank you!


The following books are available through Our Favorite Books Bookstore. All proceeds from Our Favorite Books Bookstore in association with Amazon.com go toward supporting the chfweb.com website. Thanks for your support!

The Mitford Series
by Jan Karon
I don't normally read novels, but Jan Karon's books are an exception --heartwarming and endearing, they picture life in a small Southern town where the characters have a sense of community and love for the Lord. Many Christian moms said they couldn't put them down until they read through the entire series, but I enjoyed savoring them slowly. A perfect series to enjoy when you feel in need of a little vacation and a break from busy routines! Jan Karon shows us how to enjoy the simple life and reminds us not to take a single day for granted. --Tamara Eaton

[At Home in Mitford]

At Home in Mitford
by Jan Karon
Paperback: *Order Now!*

[A Light in the Window]

A Light in the Window
by Jan Karon
Paperback: *Order Now!*

[These High, Green Hills]

These High, Green Hills
by Jan Karon
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[Out To Canaan]

Out To Canaan
by Jan Karon
Paperback: *Order Now!*


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Kathy Ridpath: ridpath@chfweb.com
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