In a few days we here in America will be pausing to give thanks. To bow our heads and recognize how blessed each and everyone of us is and that we have the opportunity to worship without interference from government. In fact, at our house we will pray, have turkey, potatoes and dressing and eat too much. But every Thanksgiving as I glance over the bounty, as I look at the table loaded with great tasty dishes I think of goat.

What? Did I just write that every time I consider thanksgiving dinner the subject of goats come up? Yes that is what I wrote.

It was a long time ago now but when a new pastor I was working with migrant families. We provided health care, food, clothing and a place to worship. Neither pastor nor families had much but we had some great time worshipping and celebrating God’s love. Of course thanksgiving came and we were invited to celebrate with families in the community.

I asked, “What should we bring?” The answer, ” Nothing pastor you are our guests.” I continued, “Let me bring the turkey or dessert or something.” Again the answer, “Oh no there will be plenty of meat we will have a wonderful time together.”

Thanksgiving arrived and we walked up the hill toward the celebration. There was singing, there was laughing, there was joy. We sat down ready to enjoy what the families had brought together. There were fantastic tacos, and a stew that had just the right spice and I said, “This is the best turkey I’ve ever had.” There was a long pause and then so much laughing tears were flowing all around. One of the elders smiled and said, “Oh yes pastor this is tur-goat a very rare beast we only have at Thanksgiving you won’t find any better in all the world.”

Remember at the start I said a “new” pastor a man that had a lot to learn. Today I look backward and recognize what a blessing for me to be taught about new cultures, new ways of addressing life, new ways of worshipping and giving thanks. So, take it from a man that knows. Pause this Thanksgiving as you celebrate, as you bow your heads and ask God to send you some new opportunities to grow, to laugh, to walk with another along this path of Thanksgiving.

Dear God make us receptive! Help us to see victory through relationships and compassion rather than to look for easy answers. Today make us expectant, kind, thankful and patient. Amen.