Every so often, I run across something that I have never heard of before. For instance, a number of years ago, I saw somebody order a birthday cake with the inscription, “Happy Birthday, Jesus.” It was for dessert on Christmas day; and I couldn’t believe that people actually bought birthday cakes for Jesus. Then I found out that it was rather common. However, I had never been exposed to such a thing in my entire life.
Well, another thing like that, although not as dramatic, happened to me this past week. Janet and I were in a grocery store and the pumpkins had just been put out on the floor. I understand buying pumpkins in October, but we are still in September and yesterday was the 21st, normally regarded as the beginning of fall. As we entered the check-out line, sure enough, the lady in front of us had a pumpkin in her cart. It was a medium sized pumpkin; and was more the shape that would make it part of a fall decoration rather than a Jack-O-Lantern – it really wasn’t something that you would carve for Halloween.
The cashier made some comment about it being one of the first pumpkins that the store had sold this year. The customer then remarked that the pumpkins had arrived just in time… For what? After all, Halloween is more than five weeks away!
It turns out the the family has a tradition of getting a pumpkin for Gratitude Day, that was celebrated yesterday, Sept. 21st. The day was first put on the calendar back in 1965 in Hawaii. An international group decided that there should be a day each year used to to formally express appreciation and gratitude around the world. Starting in 1966, other nations began the celebration and now, apparently, the tradition has grown each year! Honestly, this is the first I have ever heard of it!
Anyway, back to the story… The customer said that their family has a tradition of expressing their gratitude for various blessings by writing them on the pumpkin each year. And instead of doing this for one day, they write about their blessings each day starting September 21st through Thanksgiving each year. Normally, she said, it takes three pumpkins or more to handle all the writing they do expressing the blessings they have received since the prior Thanksgiving.
Honestly, I thought it was an awesome idea. They start at the top of the pumpkin and then write in a spiral pattern around and around until they get to the bottom – and then they start another pumpkin. I did the math and this means that for more than 15% of the entire year, they are memorializing things on the pumpkin. What an awesome idea!
So, in honor of the Gratitude Pumpkin, our verse for tonight comes from Paul and his letter to the church at Colossae. Paul reminds the people, in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”
My encouragement this evening is that God loves us and wants us to be grateful for what we have. Our faith helps us to depend on God to provide our needs and He will not disappoint us. My prayer is that we may all increase our faith and express our gratitude to God for all the blessings that He bestows on us throughout the year. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…