Thanksgiving (II) 感恩节 (之二)

与世界上其他国家的国定假日一样,感恩节是美国的一个国定假日。美国的感恩节是在十一月的第四个礼拜四。(林肯总统在一八六三年第一次决定全国同庆感恩节。)这一天是特别留给所有的家庭可以聚集在一起,共同感谢上帝赐给我们各样恩典和财物。这一天也是人们向上帝祷告,祈求上帝不断地赐福给我们。但是,对于现代的大部分美国人来说,这些属灵的意义已经消失,而成为亲朋好友一起欢宴,看橄榄球比赛和研究圣诞礼物的购物单,可以为下一步的抢购做准备。

今年,我决定家里的感恩节宴会不仅是我们自己家里的成员来参加,我们还特别邀请另外两组人。首先就是那些家人不在这里的,但是是我认识的人;其次就是刚来美国,还不知道美国感恩节是怎么一会事的家庭。当我在两个月以前向我太太表示了这个想法的时候,她问我,来参加的外人有多少。我向她保证,大概十到十二个人,最多也许会达到十五个人。上一个礼拜四,我们家的感恩节宴会一共来了35位客人!我们尽情地享受与韩国朋友、中国朋友、日本朋友在一起的欢乐。首先,我们让所有参与这次感恩节宴会的每一位都有一个机会与大家分享上帝是如何赐福给他们的,也让他们有一个时间表达对上帝的感谢。然后,我们就祷告,求上帝祝福我们将要吃的食物。之后,我们就开始大嚼这感恩节的宴席。我们的餐桌差不多有30英尺长,上面摆满了各种美食和甜点心。有烟熏火鸡和火腿、土豆泥、炸土豆和洋葱、加料烤制的地瓜泥、加料烤制的玉米饼、青豆角、玉米蛋糕酱和各式素菜。甜点心有:我最喜欢的柠檬派、南瓜派、德州核桃派、等等等等。

午宴结束以后,我们在电视上看橄榄球比赛。然而最领人兴奋的是在午宴以后,玩韩国朋友教我们的一种游戏。就是在地上放一块毯子,然后把四个小棒从空中扔到这毯子上,这些小棒就会得到一个数字,根据这个数字我们就可以让自己在游戏图上按游戏规则移动。游戏图是我们画在一块大白板上的一个图案。我们把所有的人分成三组,每组十个人。因为这个游戏很简单,连小小孩也能参加。大家十分投入这个游戏,大声喊叫、欢呼、朗朗大笑声此起彼伏。这一天很快就过去了,现在仅存一些回忆;但是这样的回忆将多年回旋在我的脑海里,也是我终身要感恩的事项。

 


讨论问题:

1. 在你的国家里是不是有感恩节?

2. 当你与亲朋好友在一起欢聚的时候,一共会有多少人?

3. 美国的感恩节是不是有可能成为一个没有感谢上帝的感恩节?

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States, as well as in other countries. For Americans, this holiday is on the fourth Thursday of November. (The first national observance of Thanksgiving was first called for by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.) It is a day which is set apart for families to gather and give thanks to God for the blessings which He has given to us. It is also a day of prayer to seek God’s continued blessing for the future. However, today the spiritual element of Thanksgiving has been lost by most Americans. Instead, Thanksgiving Day has become a day in which families and friends feast together, watch football, and plan their Christmas wish lists for the upcoming shopping season.

This year my family decided to invite other families who did not have families nearby; and to invite families from other nations who were now in America, but had never celebrated an American Thanksgiving. When I first told my wife about my idea two months ago, she wanted to know how many would be coming. I assured her it would only be 10 or 12, maybe 15 at the most. This last Thursday we celebrated Thanksgiving with 35 friends!  We had a wonderful time with our Korean, Chinese, and Japanese friends! We took time to go around the room and give everyone the opportunity to give God thanks for what He had done in their life. Afterwards, we asked God to bless the food and ate. We ate and ate. We had a table nearly 30 feet long and it was filled with all kinds of food and desserts. We enjoyed smoked turkey and ham, mashed potatoes, fried potatoes and onions, sweet potato casserole, corn casserole, green beans, cornbread dressing, and steamed vegetables. For dessert we had pumpkin pies, pecan pies, and lemon pies (my favorite) and more.

After lunch we enjoyed watching American football on t.v. The most enjoyable thing we did after lunch was to play a game taught to us by our Korean friends. We placed a blanket on the ground and using 4 sticks we tossed them into the air and tried to keep them on the blanket. The sticks would give us a number, by which we could move our team around a board. The board was actually a picture we drew on a large whiteboard. We divided into 3 big teams of 10 each. The game was simple enough for even the youngest child to play. We all enjoyed the game and there was much shouting, cheering, and laughter. The day ended and is now just a memory. But it is a memory for which I will recall for many years and one for which I will always be thankful.


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

1. Is there a day of thanksgiving in your country?
2. When your family and friends get together how many is in your group?
3. Would Thanksgiving Day be Thanksgiving Day if Americans did not thank God?

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