(this is the beginning of my Thanksgiving Eve sermon)
I remember sitting at the kitchen table one day when I was small, talking to my mother. I had just gotten home from a trip out to my grandparents'farm in southwestern Minnesota. As we talked and conversed about the days, what was good and what we wished was different, I suddenly blurted out, "Oh, I wish we could go and live on the farm!" My mother looked at me, smiled, and said, "you have no idea what you are wishing for." Her response deflated me, a little. I didn't know what she was talkinga bout. I thought i had a good idea! And it's also true, as well, I didn't know what I was wishing for. I didn't know then, andp robably still don't, all of what would be involved to "go and live on the farm." I didn't know, esepcially as a young child, that the life I experienced as so gracious, so abundant, so full of adventure, to her was a life of hard work, long days, and sometimes even isolation.
ONce, a long time later, I asked her more about what it was like to grow up on a farm. She told me a little about the different chores she had, some things she had to do, and she said that she really didn't miss the farm that much. She liked living in the city, liked the opportunities, liked the community, liked the kind of work she did. She didn't really miss the farm -- except at harvest time, she said. She missed the farm at harvest time.
I wondered what it was about the harvest, about that time of year, about this time of year, that made the hard work and long days of farm life worth it. I wondered what it was that made harvest different than every other time of the year. I wondered, but I didn't ask her. It is the nature of children to be no quite curious enough about their parents. Still, her statement haunted me, "I really don't miss the farm.... except at the harvest." What was it about the time of harvest that made it different, that made it special, especially on the farm? What is it about the harvest -- this time of year when we celebrate Thanksgiving? It's not an accident that Thanksgiving is at the time of year when some of us are also bringing in the harvest.