Blog|The Rev. Canon Dr. Greg Kimura, Ph. D.
Growing up Asian American in an area with many Native Americans, Thanksgiving always seemed a strange holiday. The imagery of pilgrims and Indians sitting down together, with all the implications of blessing a land grab, never really meshed. Neither did turkey. We always got together at my uncle’s restaurant with family and friends and had Japanese food. Turkey and mashed potatoes were there, but Thanksgiving food memories for me are sushi, teriyaki salmon, and gyoza.
Yet the emphasis on thankfulness was always there which made me feel connected to something greater than just a simple family gathering.
All holidays evolve in meaning to fit the context and the time. In the mainly Central American immigrant neighborhood where I live, it was heartening to see many young kids being escorted door-to-door on Halloween by parents and older siblings. The experience seemed new to them, even forgetting to say “trick-or-treat.” Yet, with the excitement of candy and pride in costumes, it also struck me a wonderful way for kids and their parents entering the customs of the culture and becoming American. Holidays, in this sense, are touch points of connection to others in a shared experience.
This Thanksgiving will be informed by what’s happening in the world, with all its conflicts and recent memories of holidays frustrated by COVID. Despite these very real problems and whatever challenges we have in our lives, we all have much for which to be thankful. It is important that we remember that and take time in a holiday like Thanksgiving to commemorate it.
During COVID, we even saw the rise of social media #gratitude, which is another word for thanksgiving. But the one thing we should remember about the holiday as a faith community is not only that we are grateful for what we have; we are grateful to the One who provides it. We are thankful to God for the abundance of blessings, and for the responsibility of stewardship to others, however we celebrate this day and whatever it looks like.
As all prayer is itself a form of thanksgiving, we pray:
Almighty and gracious God, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
(Adapted from the BCP, Rite II, prayer for Thanksgiving Day)
The Rev. Canon Greg Kimura, Ph.D.
Vice Dean and Cathedral Canon