Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Thankfulness and Thanksgiving: A Retrospection
Psalm 116: 12 - 13

Abraham Mattackal
MTC of Los Angeles, CA

12 What shall I return to the Lord     for all his bounty to me? 13 I will lift up the cup of salvation  and call on the name of the Lord

The Diocese of North America & Europe is celebrating November 22 as Diaspora Sunday. This is the Sunday before Thanksgiving. What do these two celebrations have in common?

395 years had elapsed since the early English settlers, “pilgrims” as they are often called, first celebrated Thanksgiving at Plymouth, Massachusetts in the fall of 1621. What were these early English settlers thankful for?  First, they were the same "Separatists who left England for Holland towards the beginning of the 16"century at the time of Queen Elizabeth I. Second, the pilgrims landed at Plymouth at the worst time of the year- in December 1620. The fierce winter of New England was taking its toll. Nearly half of them died in the next few months. Yet, the pilgrims did not lose hope or their steadfast faith in God. With the onset of Spring, they planted corn and sweet potatoes and in the summer they had a rich harvest. The native Wampanoag Indians turned out to be friendly and helpful. Their settlement was going to survive. And, in the fall, in a spirit of victory over awesome odds and a feeling of homesickness for the land they grew up and left behind, they had a harvest festival. It is their triumph that all Americans now celebrate as Thanksgiving Day celebrations !

The word Diaspora is a Greek word used to designate the dispersal of Jews at the time of the destruction of the first temple in 586 B.C. and their forced exile to Babylon. The term Diaspora has also been applied to other peoples living outside their traditional homelands. We are a perfect example. We left our homeland Kerala and have settled down in various parts of the world. Although it is not at all comparable with what the early pilgrims had to go through when they arrived at Plymouth, Mass, yet our early Mar Thoma immigrants who came in the 1950's, 60's and 70’s to U.K., United States and Canada had to face enormous difficulties. Today's young adults were babies or little children then. Mothers had to spend many a sleepless night  working night shifts and taking care of their babies during the day. Those who came as students had to do menial jobs to sustain a meager living. Some of them had to walk in sandals in the winter snow as they could not afford to buy a winter shoe. Every father or mother or one who came as a student alone, had a story to tell his or her sons and daughters, a story though poignant at times, had something to cherish and/or reflect upon generation after generation. This what the Diaspora Sunday stands for.

This is a time to look back to the roots and history where we find the guiding and sustaining presence of God, experience that presence in the present and march to the future with a dedication to be His presence in the world we are send.


Almighty Lord, we are Your chosen people. From the time we left our homeland Kerala and scattered ourselves in different parts of this world, You have kept us under Your protection and blessed us abundantly. We particularly remember and pray for our early settlers. Help us to be always thankful for Your mercies and blessings... Amen
“Fear not. For I am with you. Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" Isaiah 4:1:10 

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