Thanksgiving is one of the holidays in North American culture that I like the most, because it is a celebration of gratitude to God for what was received during the year. Or as they say, it is the harvest of what is sown.
I am not going to write about the history of this tradition; you know it well, because it is yours. I will write about how we Hispanics live it in this great country. For me it is very satisfying to hear that people share with those who do not have what is needed: the pumpkin pie, the corn bread, the champagne, and above all, the baked stuffed turkey. The whole family gets together. Members travel from different states to be present that day with their loved ones, and everyone prays and gives thanks to God.
Hispanics/Latinos are embracing this celebration with great respect as God is present in united families. Some Mexicans do not know how to cook the traditional delicacies, so we use our own recipes and cook foods such as pozole and tamales, and our beverages are punch and tequila. We do not try to change the traditions, but because we don’t know how to cook turkey in the oven, it turns out very hard and dry. So, in order not to fail, we eat our own dishes. The important thing about this date is not the food, but rather being together, and, united as a family, giving thanks to God for what we have received from the fruits of our labors.
The pandemic has changed our lives. For everyone’s safety many families will not meet this year, so that the virus does not spread further. We want to be healthy and alive for next year. So, traditions will be set aside. I know that many will call their families by phone or video to greet each other or visit during virtual dinners. It is sad, but we should not be discouraged; instead we should thank God that we are alive. We can be heartened by sharing with those around us.
This year I want to thank the members of First Church and the Methodist women for their donations, making it possible for the families in El Maguey to have food on their tables in these difficult times. For them it is a blessing and also for you, since they are doing what God likes: helping and loving our neighbors as ourselves. On Friday November 13th in El Maguey, Cristo Vive distributed 120 grocery bags for families in need. It is a blessing and a reason to thank God and you.
This coming Thanksgiving Day I recommend that you do not stop celebrating, either alone or in company. You have to thank our Lord Jesus Christ for His love, protection and blessings.
Today we celebrate that God is good and always will be. We thank God for being our Heavenly Father, He has provided bread in the home and has given strength to each one in the family to continue achieving dreams. Thank God for being the light in the midst of the darkness of hardships. In difficult moments He has been our comfort. Thank God for his blessings and for the happiness He brings to our hearts.
“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.”
Happy Thanksgiving Day!
Pastor Gerardo Vázquez-Padilla