Thanksgiving Day is defined in Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary as “a day appointed for giving thanks for divine goodness.” Normally we think of divine goodness as being evident in the fall harvest and this marks the first year that we Dixons could celebrate the harvest as we have been enjoying our first ever vegetable garden.

We started with humble beginnings, a patch about four feet by five feet, filled with a mix of beans, lettuce, some sort of weed that I thought was some sort of vegetable, the weirdest looking carrots I’ve ever seen, cucumbers that would be better called succumers, and recently, one pumpkin. We enjoyed eating the beans and lettuce.

The carrots never made it to the table and I’m not sure who or what ate our cukes. Good thing my wife Sandra takes the lead in the harvesting or we might have been eating the weeds. In addition to the vegetable garden we also have a pear tree, or so we are told, there were no pears this year to prove it, and an apple tree, where we keep our pet worms. Nevertheless, we are grateful and amazed that even amateur gardeners like us can grow anything! Our garden reminds me that God is good, stuff grows, and that we are learning; there is potential. I am grateful for both.

Jesus calls us to be fruitful; “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:8 NIV). Sometimes we may feel in our Christian walk like I do with our garden – not particularly fruitful. We may feel more green than green thumb as a Christian, not yet sure of the difference between a weed and a veggie. We might become distracted, spending more time in front of the tv than in the garden. We might feel we are still lacking the tools for task. But the potential is there. We are reminded that God is good, even our feeble attempts can bear fruit, and we are learning; there is potential. Gratitude flows.

Having been the pastor at Fourth Avenue Baptist for a year now, the focus for our ministry is still the same as I shared in my first sermon here when I preached for a call: helping people walk in faith, hope, and love. Thanksgiving Sunday follows one Sunday after our 110th anniversary celebrations. I trust that we can look back over 110 years of ministry in the Glebe and see the fruit of helping people walk in faith, hope, and love. We look forward to the future knowing that God is good, stuff grows, and we are learning. We are grateful.

(written for the Glebe Report, Oct. 2009)