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Gratitude, Grace, and Giving

Thanksgiving in my family always meant my grandmother’s house, dining room table and sideboard filled with turkey, dressing, and casseroles. It was the natural accumulation of recipes, love, and traditions. 

Over the years, we got to be more thoughtful about what we were doing, and we added in prayers and naming reasons we were thankful that year. We moved from gluttony to prayer.  

The first thanksgiving was named in what would become the United States in 1619 by Anglican men who had arrived at Berkeley Plantation southwest of Richmond, Virginia, to settle and begin to clear land for the women and children who would follow them. They marked their arrival by setting aside December 4 as an annual day of thanksgiving. And they probably fasted rather than feasted. Over the centuries the date and practice obviously changed. 

 We are all experiencing this one a little differently, but my memories after the meal are of the men of my mom’s family tossed onto chairs and sofas watching afternoon pigskin and recovering. After the big  game, we’d rouse ourselves for some communal chore before driveway fireworks. (It was rural Mississippi after all.)

Working together as a family defined Thanksgiving as much as it made the feast possible. It has always been that way.  

We need you to do the work of this congregation as the people of God at Christ Church of the Ascension. We need you to do your part of being the family of God. Give thanks this week for our church and our mission. And join us in the work of knowing, loving, and serving Christ here. 

In this year where so much is different our work remains, because our hope in Christ remains. God’s Reign remains, and we who bear his Son’s name have so many reasons to give thanks.  

Thank you for being a faithful part of Christ’s Church. 


The Rev. Daniel P. Richards, Rector 

Christ Church of the Ascension 

Paradise Valley, Arizona

Know Christ, Love Christ, Serve Christ.