Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! Plump pumpkins, crunchy red leaves, a nip in the air, and turkeys on sale all remind us that it’s that time of year when we need to press the pause button and count our blessings.
This is our twentieth Thanksgiving in Canada, and I have to say I think it’s one of the best traditions EVER. I love that we celebrate with family and friends and food, even to the point of having a national holiday. So let’s make time. Be intentional. Give thanks, be it for a weekend or a day or a dinner.
This past week, Lyndon and I left the boys at home while we spent a few precious days with Charlotte and her husband at their home in Montreal. My girl fix, city fix, shopping fix… it was fabulous! I’ve never experienced eastern Canada in fall, and it did not disappoint. Bear in mind when we were there earlier this year for “Spring Break”—and I use that term loosely—it was snowing and minus 13 degrees, so I was bracing myself for pretty much anything.
Montreal in fall is magical., and the major highlight for me was… a monastery. Surprised? I was. We headed out of the city to the eastern townships and drove through unexpected quaint areas boasting churches complete with darling steeples, and the sweetest homes nestled among fiery-coloured trees, showing off their autumnal finest. As we arrived at Saint Benedict’s Abbey, it soon became evident that we were in a very special place.
Yes, it was a stunning building against a backdrop of beauty, with rolling fields and fragrant orchards, but there was something almost tangibly holy in the air. It was simultaneously simple and magnificent. Time almost stood still, daring us to pause for a moment and see how easily the monks breathe, comfortable in their routine of praise, utterly grateful to their Maker.
They take deliberate TIME to pray and learn and think and work. Every moment designed for contemplation. Serenity prevailed in that place. Even the turkeys in the fields seemed at peace—clearly unaware of the traditional Thanksgiving feast fast approaching…
The combination of stained glass and stone and wood causes breath to catch and eyes to look up to the Heavens. Goodness, we have much to be grateful for, don’t we? Peace in our nation, food on our tables, freedom to live out our faith, loved ones to hold us, and a new day to experience.
These monks, they know how to press pause. They know how to give thanks.
“The practice of giving thanks…eucharisteo…this is the way we practice the presence of God, stay present to His presence, and it is always a practice of the eyes. We don’t have to change what we see. Only the way we see.” — Ann Voskamp
And now I’m home. Back in the busy, but determined to make the practice of giving thanks a regular tradition, a way of life, a daily habit to see much to be grateful for —even in the minutiae of life. And certainly not just once a year 🙂
Press pause. Give thanks.
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers! Check them out: