THANKSGIVING FEAST DAY AND MORNING MUFFINS

Thanksgiving Day is a Major Feast Day in The Episcopal Church in the United States where it’s celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November every year. Other Churches and countries celebrate their own Feast Day of Thanksgiving on different dates.

Many churches in the United States have services on Thanksgiving morning. The Episcopal Church Lectionary page lists these Thanksgiving Day Lessons for 2019.

If I were to give a sermon focusing on one of those readings, I would choose St. Paul’s words in the Epistle:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.  – Philippians 4:4-9

St. Paul’s words spoke to me early on in my spiritual journey. In fact, I read them as the lector at church one Sunday morning before I truly understood that I had to leave that church and follow His Way on my own. I could barely get through reading the last paragraph aloud without crying. I felt St. Paul was speaking directly to me, but I didn’t understanding exactly what he was talking about.

In retrospect, I see St. Paul was encouraging me to use my voice, to speak out against injustice. To no longer let people insist that we should all just be grateful for whatever life handed to us because that’s what God gave us. Uh, no. That statement is not based on reality, AND it is a form of spiritual abuse.

Therefore, I highly recommend that we do not expect everyone to be grateful and shut up. I recommend we hold each other up when we speak out about our suffering, and that we support each other in our various social activism.

Be compassionate toward all those for whom Thanksgiving is a difficult day for whatever reason.

Support the peoples of this country who were here first. They deserve our respect of their cultural identity, our support in their activism to protect their lands from pollution and thievery, and our empathy for the alcoholism and suicide rates among their populations caused by generations of being suppressed and treated like outcasts in their own homeland. Because we, white Europeans, illegal immigrants on this land except by our own rules, took it from them. Read some articles, join some groups, make a donation. You can do this. On top of whatever else you are doing for Thanksgiving, you can do this.

Oh. And, go to church on Thanksgiving morning. It’ll do your heart good.

Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. — Book of Common Prayer

Bake these muffins for Thanksgiving morning to sustain you and your people while you’re cooking, traveling, volunteering, working, or whatever else you got going in the morning before your feast.

Thanksgiving Morning Muffins with Pumpkin and Cranberries

1 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil for greasing muffin pans

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup old-fashioned oat meal

3 tablespoons ground flax seed

¾ cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking POWDER

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon medieval (Pumpkin Pie) spices*

½ cup or 1 stick of butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 eggs

½ cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup fresh or slightly thawed frozen cranberries, chopped

Topping

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 teaspoon medieval spices

*medieval (Pumpkin Pie) spices = 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice.

OPTIONAL HEALTHIER VERSION: Replace 1 cup white flour with 1/2 cup white flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour. Replace 3/4 cups white sugar with 1/2 cup honey* and whisk with liquid ingredients. For the topping, decrease amount of sugars to 1/2 tablespoons each.

*Two Interesting Notes on Honey: I recently learned that eating local honey helps our immune system adapt to local pollen allergens thereby decreasing allergy symptoms. So, buy local! I’ve also learned that some honey contains a toxin called botulism. Botulism is not killed in the heat of the oven, so anything cooked with honey that might contain botulism is poisonous to humans under 1 year old. So, if you use honey in these muffins, don’t feed them to the baby!

Preheat oven to 375 degree. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.

Combine flour, oatmeal, flax seed, sugar, baking POWDER, salt, and 1 teaspoon medieval spices in a large bowl.

Whisk butter, eggs, milk, and vanilla together in a small bowl.

Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir in pumpkin puree until blended. Stir in cranberries.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix sugar, light brown sugar, and medieval spices. Sprinkle mixture on top of each muffin.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes until toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean or with dry crumbs.

Cool slightly before popping out of muffin pan and serving warm, or cool completely before placing in an airtight container and storing in refrigerator or freezer.

Posted in gratitude for you, my dearworthy readers.

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