Happy, happy Thanksgivin’ Day to You and Yours from Me and Mine!
God bless you is what I do say, in ev’ry way so grand and fine!
Note from Nannie!
On this wonderful day of celebration and thanks during harvest time, I would like to quote from a periodical I love to read, each day, called “Magnificat.”
“Neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who causes the growth. (1Cor 3:7)
God’s blessing is true light in the mind’s darkness, true rain for the soul’s earth, true life for the seed of everlasting life that lies buried in the soil of the human heart. With God’s blessing the earth yields a rich harvest of generous thoughts, kind words, and good deeds. For today’s harvest, we give thanks and praise.”
Little Finney just loves Thanksgiving time, or as he would say, “Thanksgivin’ time!” Finney knows that lots of celebrations begin during this last week of November, and that Christmastime begins right after Thanksgiving!
This wonderful Thanksgiving-time of year nicely prepares us for the birth of Our Little Lord, Jesus!
As we reflect on all we have to be thankful for, our minds are diverted (and thank God for this!) from some of the challenges and struggles that tempt us away from trusting that God’s Grace will always provide. We all know that the world has much suffering and hardship occurring at every moment, but we also know that God hears our every prayer. Given that all that is good comes from God, we know we can count on Him and be thankful to Him. And every year, at Christmastime we celebrate the birth of The Child Jesus, Who changed everything…our Redeemer and our Savior.
Finney loves to talk about Christmas, but Thanksgivin’ happens first and it is only a few days away, and, there are really some fun facts to know!
At Thanksgiving time we can find ourselves in a much better mindset if we truly do reflect on all we have to be grateful for…Family, Friends and Blessings too numerous to mention.
Of course, we all are familiar with the “Thanksgiving Story.” One of the primary sources of the story that we have come to know is from a letter, written by Edward Winslow, to a friend about the rejoicing together in “a special manner, ” that occurred in 1621, in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Edward Winslow praised God for the “good increase” in the harvest. The letter explains that after the harvest had been “gotten in”, there was a desire to “rejoice together” in a “special manner.” Mr. Winslow also tells us “many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deer, which they brought to the Plantation (at Plymouth) and bestowed on our Governor, and upon the Captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”
“Today’s national Thanksgiving celebration is a blend of two traditions: the New England custom of rejoicing after a successful harvest, based on ancient English harvest festivals; and the Puritan Thanksgiving, a solemn religious observance combining prayer and feasting.” (www.plimoth.org)
Around 1789, “George Washington called for an official celebratory ‘day of public thanksgiving and prayer.’ While Congress overwhelmingly agreed to Washington’s suggestion, the holiday did not yet become an annual event.” It wasn’t until 1863, “expressing gratitude for a pivotal Union Army victory at Gettysburg, President Abraham Lincoln announces that the nation will celebrate an official Thanksgiving holiday on November 26, 1863.” And that is why we celebrate our Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday in November. (www.history.com)
Well said, about Thanksgivin’, at http://www.plimoth.org … “Despite modern-age turmoil — and perhaps, even more so, because of it — gathering together in grateful appreciation for a Thanksgiving celebration” with Family and Friends “is a deeply meaningful and comforting annual ritual to most Americans. The need to connect with loved ones and to express our gratitude is at the heart of all this feasting, prayerful thanks, recreation, and nostalgia for a simpler time.
Me Mum and Me Dad!
Our dear Uncle Obie!
And somewhere in the bustling activity of every November’s Thanksgiving is the abiding National memory of a moment in Plymouth, nearly 400 years ago, when two distinct cultures, on the brink of profound and irrevocable change, shared an autumn feast.”
In regards to Thanksgiving and Ireland… An article written by John Fay can be found at http://www.irishcentral.com. Mr. Fay tells us that in Ireland there is no “Thanksgiving Day,” but “many Americans here (in Ireland) shift their celebrations from Thursday to Saturday, when they have the time needed to prepare the dinner. Also, for those who don’t have family here (in Ireland), a Saturday celebration makes it easier to invite over a few Irish friends to take part in Thanksgiving. (Just because it’s not a holiday here (in Ireland), doesn’t mean Irish people will turn down a nice big dinner and a couple glasses of wine.)
The Sacred Isle – Ireland
In regards to a turkey, Mr. Fay tells us they have to be ordered in advance, and that the Americans in Ireland seem to be loyal to having Thanksgiving-time turkey!
Mr. Fay finishes his article with these words, “Who doesn’t need a day to take a time out from all the hustle and bustle? A day with no card, no gifts, no nothing other than time” Time to reflect?” What’s not to like?”
In order to close on a truly Irish Thanksgiving note…it appears, as is told in an article by John Cusack, also at http://www.irishcentral.com, that in February of 1621 (the February before the Fall of 1621 that we have been speaking of), “According to the ‘Observant Citizen,’ a columnist for the Boston Post, the Pilgrims in the winter of their first year were starving and faced the end of their project to colonize the new land when a ship arrived from overseas bearing the much needed food. It turns out, from records at the Massachusetts Historical Society, that the wife of one of the prominent Plymouth brethren was the daughter of a Dublin merchant and that it was he who chartered the vessel, loaded it with food and dispatched it to Plymouth.
Thus, these records give “the Irish a fair claim to saving Thanksgiving!” The name of the article? Well…”How the Irish saved Thanksgiving.” Thomas Cahill (author of How the Irish Saved Civilization would be cheering! As are we! Nice to know we played some part that had to do with making sure that great celebration happened, almost 400 years ago!
God bless you and thank you for stopping by!
P.S. from Nannie…computer technology has been thwarting me these last several days…;)
Kevin O’Hara tells us of his travels around Ireland with his princess of a donkey, Missie, in his more-than-wonderful book, Last of the Donkey Pilgrims. I have a particular fondness for Kevin’s stories of his Grannie Kelly.
With Kevin’s permission, I will quote some words from his book…!
When Grannie knew that Kevin was going to embark on his great adventure, she had this to say…”I’m not going to allow a wayfaring grandson of mine to roam the earth with a donkey without first making a pilgrimage to Knock.”
After arriving at Knock, Kevin tells us that after obediently filling “two bottles with the holy waters of Knock,” he and Grannie went to Mass. Kevin says that Grannie preferred the “off-season…she liked prayer without fanfare.”
After Mass and the Stations of the Cross, putting “two coins into an Offering Box,” lighting candles, and kneeling in prayer as well as writing her intentions on paper, Grannie then put “two more coins into the Offering Box,” did more lighting of candles, and put her written intentions “into a brass box beneath the statue of Mary, marked PETITIONS.” Then, more prayers (“soft and sweet and endless,” as Kevin says!) with much contemplation!
Then Kevin says, “Finally, as though she had received a heavenly answer, she stood, genuflected, and walked back to join me. ‘Now, then,’ she smiled, taking hold of my hand. ‘Now you and your Missie can travel the Ring of Ireland.”
Would that we all began our endeavors with such spiritual preparation…Thank God for the Grannie Kellys of the world!
Another “Kevin” story, and one which has found a firm place in my mind’s treasure house of stories that have made quite an impression on me…
Kevin tells the tale of meeting Brother Malachy Daly, “a plump, jovial, middle-aged Passionist”, who smokes a pipe. Kevin became acquainted with Br. Malachy when he (Kevin) was blessed with hospitality at Mount Argus Monastery, in the Dublin area.
Kevin tells us…(excerpt from his book)
After Br. Malachy made something for Kevin to eat, they “sat alone in the large kitchen” of the Monastery. As Kevin told Br. Malachy about kindnesses he (Kevin) had received during his travels around Ireland, Br. Malachy said, “God has always provided the pilgrim…in Ireland, especially. We have a long tradition of generosity, going back to the ancient kings of the Seven Provinces who set up countless ‘Houses of Hospitality,’ for pilgrim, tramp or wayfarer. A blessing, that, for haven’t our roads been filled with the destitute over the centuries, with eviction, wars, and famines? You’re living proof such benevolence continues today.”
“Many Irish, especially old country folk, believe Jesus takes up disguise and walks our road,” the kindly brother went on. “Saint Caesarius of Arles tells us that ‘Christ comes as often as a poor man approaches you.’ You wouldn’t be Our Lord, now would you?” he smiled, watching me (Kevin) break bread.”
“I’m afraid I’d fail miserably as one of His disciples, ” I (Kevin) demurred, stuffing my mouth.
“Nonsense! You’re the last of the donkey pilgrims, humbling yourself before God and Man about our country.
I was reaching for another slice of bread when Brother Malachy intercepted my hand with a clasp of fervor.
“Tell me, have you been touched by His grace? What has changed within you on this roundabout?”
I looked at Brother Malachy, his eyes fixed and watery.
“Well, I have had some hints of grace lately,” I replied, taking back my hand, “but I think it has more to do with being outside all the time, or meeting kind people who thank God for everything but the odd hole in their shoe.”
“Go on,” pressed Brother Malachy, topping off my tea.
“Sometimes I feel the exact moment of the evening Angelus. It’s as if there’s a pause, a silence, a moment of thanksgiving. And sometimes prayers just pour out of me, out of the blue, like I’m ready to burst or something.”
“A wellspring of grace.” He (Br. Malachy) nodded in satisfaction. “Any other movements of Spirit?”
“I don’t claim to be any St. Francis, but whenever the road starts to seem particularly long and lonely, a pied wagtail shows up and hops before us, or a swallow goes zipping between Missie’s ears. Just idle fancies of a wandering mind, I suppose.”
“Rubbish,” he admonished. “You do a great injustice to dismiss these blessings from God as random occurrences. You’ve tapped into a Higher Power that many strive for, but few attain. Blessed birdbrain, don’t discard God’s boundless love as mere coincidence. Remember, coincidence is simply God’s little miracle in disguise. The Presence is everywhere for eyes that see and ears that hear. Keep your journey on the way of the pilgrim.”
I (Kevin) nodded in thoughtful agreement, as my hand grabbled for the breadbasket again.
Grannie Kelly’s prayers had big-time results with this Br. Malachy incident!
Now, our Finney just loves the Missie and Kevin stories…especially the story of Missie being part of the Nativity scene as they neared the end of their Journey…Finney always makes sure the donkey figure is able to not only be sure to be included in his Nativity scene, but as close to Baby Jesus as possible!
Last fun fact has to do with when Kevin was proud of Missie for being a real “little trooper” when she forged ahead “in spite of the elements.” As he stroked her, he said, “You’re a credit to your noble breed, you are. This day (Christmas Eve) two thousand years ago, one of your kind was on the long Judean road from Nazareth to Bethlehem, as reliable to its precious cargo as you are to me.” I ran my hand over the dark marking on her back and said, “You wear your cross well, dear asaleen.”
A few years ago, I had the fun of being at a County Fair, and I saw among the animals at the Fair, donkeys which were of a smaller type and had a definite “cross” marking on their backs. Here is a picture I took at the time…
Of course, there was a story to go along with the unusual marking. I have had to try to find the story again, so the following information (and a more complete presentation) can be found at http://www.mdresort/legend-christian-donkey
The idea of the “story” is a connection between the donkey that carried Mary to Bethlehem, and the donkey that carried Jesus to Jerusalem (which we celebrate on Palm Sunday). “To ride on a donkey signified coming in peace…Many Christians believe that the donkey had known what Jesus was about to go through with His trial and suffering. They say that seeing the tragic event of Jesus’ crucifixion, the donkey wished he had been able to carry the cross for Jesus, as he was the one who should carry such burdens. The donkey turned his back on the sight, but he could not leave Jesus whom he had carried He wished to stay until all was over because of his love and loyalty. In reward for the loyal and humble love of the donkey the Lord caused the shadow of the cross to fall across his back and the donkey has carried the cross ever since…”
I believe you can see why Kevin’s comment to Missie brings this story to my mind!
God bless you, and thank you for coming to visit Finney and me!
Kevin O’Hara tells his story of the trip he and his donkey, Missie, took around the perimeter of Ireland in his book, The Last of the Donkey Pilgrims. Kevin has said that one of the things God put him on the earth to do is to tell this story of their great adventure! Missie was such a loyal and devoted companion that she has been described as “a living token of God’s favor and Grace.” Kev and Missie took “one step out of the ordinary, trusting to grace and goodwill, and everything followed from that simple sacrament of spontaneity, so Irish at its heart.” His feeling at the end of their journey was “a prayer of thanksgiving.” Any moment you may give to reading Kevin and Missie’s story will find its place not only in your mind, but in your heart!
While we are in the midst of Autumn and the beautiful colors and scenes of fallin’ leaves…
trees and Ireland make for some very interesting thoughts. Here are just a few…
www.forestryfocus.ie tells us that Ireland lost most of its flora and fauna during the Ice Age as plants and animals retreated south in the path of the advancing glaciers. When this cold period was eventually over some 10,000 years ago the land was recolonised by species that crossed via land bridges that existed between Ireland, Britain, and the continent. Some species, however, did not arrive in time as the land bridges disappeared under the rising seas from the glacial melt waters.”
The website www.libraryireland.com is a very fun resource! I find some of the older writings present a sense of authenticity that is both moving and inspiring….certainly to be always referenced with a great respect and consideration. The Scenery and Antiquities of Ireland (1841) by Stirling Coyne and N.P. Willis, tells us that “Noble forests once existed in every province, and even on these western shores, so exposed to the violence of the Atlantic gales, stately pines flourished in situations where it is now imagined that no tree can vegetate. The most authentic evidence of the antiquity of the forests and the nature of the trees which composed them, may be obtained from an examination of their remains, which have been inhumed in the bogs. Oak, fir, yew, and birch, are the species of timber most abundant, and these are found under the bogs, sometimes at a depth of thirty feet from the surface. Indeed it has been conjectured that the decay of the immense forests with which the country was formerly covered, has been the origin of many bogs, and a strong degree of probability is given to the hypothesis from the fact that in such situations the roots of trees have been often found resting upon each other.”
Dr. Joyce tells us in A Smaller Social History of Ancient Ireland 1906, “though bogs existed from the beginning, many districts, where we now find them lying broad and deep, were once forest land: and the bog grew up after the surface had, in some manner, become denuded of trees. Buried down at a depth of many feet in some of our present bogs great tree trunks are often found, the relics of the primeval forest.”
We read at www.askaboutireland.ie that “woodlands and trees played a central role in Celtic society. Ogham, the Celtic alphabet system, was based on trees.”
The Course of Irish History by Moody and Martin, tells us that Tomás Cardinal Ó Fiaich writes that the Ogham alphabet is “a cumbersome system of representing letters by groups of short lines varying in number and position.” Thomas Cahill (How the Irish Saved Civilization) also calls “prehistoric Ogham, a cumbersome set of lines.” Seumas MacManus (The Story of the Irish Race) tells us that “The ogham letters are named for trees. They follow in an order totally different from the order of the letters in all other alphabets…Great numbers of Ogham stones have been found in Ireland…”
If you go to www.ancientscripts.com, you will be able to see a nice presentation of the ogham “letters.” These next pictures bring ogham to my mind!
This last fun fact is quite a thought…In a promotional magazine for West Virginia from 1983, Wonderful West Virginia, it is claimed that “in remote areas of West Virginia are Christian messages carved in an ancient alphabetic script called ogham by Irish monks around 700 A.D.” Given that we have been taught that America was “discovered” almost 800 years after that…hmmm…
Thank you and God bless you for stopping by to visit Finney and me!