Turkey day approaches. In some ways I’ve been mentally preparing myself for the rush of the holiday season.
Then at other times I just want to tuck into a good book and forget about things for an hour or so. One book out of 10 in my book stack is the Lark Rise to Candleford series, by Flora Thompson.
It is a book that follows the life of a young girl who lives in a tiny hamlet (or village) in England called Lark Rise. Her community is very poor but oddly very happy. It is set in the late 1800s, one of my favorite time periods. Early on in the book I came across one of those quotes that I read over and over.
“People were poorer and had not the comforts, amusements, or knowledge we have to-day; but they were happier. Which seems to suggest that happiness depends more upon the state of mind-and body perhaps-than upon circumstances and events.”
from Lark Rise, chapter 3, by Flora Thompson
I finished the book a few days ago and it ended with a description of harvest days and feasts. The hard work and sweat and subsequent festivity and joviality.
The scene put me in mind of another feast day, of a story told long ago.
There was a kingdom where dwelled a wealthy King and his grown son, the Prince. The Prince was to be married, to have a wedding feast and the invitations were sent. But those invited responded with scorn and violence. And so the King, enraged, did away with the violent men.
“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find. So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.” (From Matthew 22:1-10)
I’ve always pictured this as a beautiful scene. Full of warmth and cheer and happiness. Everybody is there. Young, old, rich, poor, outcasts, knights in shining armor. Everybody. All were there. All were invited in.
And its always put me a little in mind of Thanksgiving.
The goodness, the plenty, the laying aside of differences just to be together and be happy and grateful for the blessing of harvest, and most importantly for the blessing of family.
And at the banquet scene, who was most blessed? The King was The Giver of blessings. And I imagine those who felt least deserving were most blessed. For they had nothing to recommend them to attend the feast of a King. They had little. But little was much.
This story speaks of God’s gift of salvation and grace. It is a gift of much to one who has little. Once upon a time, as a young girl that person was me.
And as I’ve gone through life I’ve seen this beautiful pattern. The times I’ve had less have been the times I’ve had more. Less in the material world. Less comfort maybe. But more room for cheer and love in my heart.
Life gets simple. And when life is simple, it forces you to look within.
Looking in to see what you value most when you have little.
A simpler life, a shorter budget, it is a gift. So enjoy it. Enjoy your life amidst the harships. The scrimping and saving. The wondering. Enjoy your family and friends, one of life’s purest and greatest gifts. May you be blessed. And well stuffed with stuffing!
A very Happy Thanksgiving to my readers here in the U.S. 🙂
Yes I know it’s early yet to be saying Happy Thanksgiving but if I don’t say it now I’m liable to forget! Mom brain 😛