First Thanksgiving rooted in act of giving

By Clyde Davis: CNJ columnist

‘M y hands are small, I know,but they’re not yours, they are my own but they’re not yours, they are my own and I am never broken.” — Jewel.

 Well, my hands aren’t really very small.

They are — hey, one of the coolest things that happened to me in junior high involved a time when our neighbor, Mr. Radovich, was playing backyard football with us.

 He’d had the distinction of blocking, in high school, for the legendary Johnny Unitas, and he wrapped my 13-year-old hand around the ball and announced to the gathered group that I had hands like Johnny Unitas — huge and well-made.

No, they’re not small.

(Yes, it was a moment of self-giving designed to make a small boy feel powerful. I know that.)

 However, the point of the song has nothing to do with how well our digits have evolved.

It reminds us of one of the key elements of this Thanksgiving season — of any Thanksgiving season.
People can be incredibly, unashamedly generous and supportive of one another.  

 “I won’t be made useless

  I won’t be idle with despair

  I will gather myself around my faith

  For light does the darkness most fear” — Jewel

 A recent fundraising event in Portales, fueled by donations from local artists and local merchants, raised almost 3,000 dollars for college students who have been displaced, disrupted, and sometimes made homeless by the Louisiana hurricane.

 The above words from the song God’s Hands could have been sung by Squanto.

Do you remember who Squanto was?

Legend or folklore tells us that he was the Algonkin warrior who, while observing the Pilgrims, perhaps socializing with them, became aware that these Wasichu had little idea how to get through a New England winter and would probably freeze and/or starve without some help.

The roots of the first Thanksgiving…

A great many churches have someone in the congregation who operates a food pantry ministry.

This may be an outreach geared to emergency only, with limitations on resources, or it may be a huge operation, but the fact is, it is someone’s ministry.

Many social organizations have special drives which go on at this time of year, to assist with the holiday needs and make it possible for everyone to rejoice to some extent.
 The list could go on and on, but the point is that our hands are the means by which the Divine enacts his will.

Our hearts are the method for sensing the needs of the world.

 As we move to the celebration, look beyond the turkey and the football to the underlying reality.

Clyde Davis is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales and an instructor at Eastern New Mexico University. He can be contacted at