What a happy Thanksgiving week at Garden in Delight! In addition to one of the most cherished celebrations of the year for our nation, the long weekend hosts our holiday book signing at Fort Worth Botanic Garden for my new book. I hope you can come! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I am especially in awe at God’s timing of the book’s debut with this holy season of gratitude. Take a Thanksgiving walk with me and see how garden snapshots connect to devotions in Song of Songs, a perfect place in Scripture to fill up on God’s love for celebrating our national holiday. My grateful gift to you – a sort of treasure map-adventure of Biblical plants and Song of Songs vignettes to accompany your signed copy of My Father is the Gardener, with a few thanksgiving Scriptures sprinkled in to savor.
Click here for more information on My Father is the Gardener holiday Book Signing, Saturday, November 26th, 2022, 11 am to 2 pm, Trellis Gift Shop, Fort Worth Botanic Garden
Spy with me a cinnamon tree! Cinnamon is the signature of this holiday season. Sure, we call it “pumpkin spice,” but let’s face it, pumpkin’s wishy-washy taste is best overcome with stimulating cinnamon. Wonderfully fragrant with undertones of fiery spice, the bark of this otherwise unremarkable tree fills the season with delicious identity.
In the Bible, cinnamon, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, from the Lauraceae family, ushers us directly into God’s divine anointing, an intense ingredient in the holy oil for the tabernacle. May your Thanksgiving celebration be aromatic with the Lord’s presence.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much (that is, 250 shekels) of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of fragrant calamus, 500 shekels of cassia…Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil.” Exodus 30:22-25 NIV
Enter His gates with a song of thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, bless and praise His name. Psalm 100:4 AMP
But thanks be to God! He always leads us triumphantly by the Messiah and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of knowing him. 2 Corinthians 2:14 ISV
Another fragrant discovery: Bay laurel tree. Flourishing and luxuriantly green in a fading fall landscape, bay laurel, Laurus nobilis, is lush with scented leaves, which add a depth of flavor to Thanksgiving favorites like stuffing, turkey brine, and gravy. Wherever soups and sauces are simmering, add a few bay leaves for an extra measure of tasty savor. Remember to remove leaves before serving; they are too tough to eat but leave behind their flavorsome oils to enrich any dish.
While bay laurel is not mentioned by name in the Bible, it is an aromatic tree from the Holy Land region. Its horticulture is hinted to in Psalm 37, and it is not too far a stretch to see it next to cinnamon in the Song of Songs reverie of the King’s bride as a secret, delectable garden with “every kind of incense tree (NIV).” Interestingly, cinnamon and bay laurel are classified in the same plant family. May the noble Lord be honored all day and let Him keep anxieties at bay.
You are paradise that produces pomegranates and the best fruits, henna flowers and nard, nard and saffron, calamus, cinnamon, and all kinds of incense-producing trees, myrrh, aloes, and all the best spices. Song of Songs 4:13-14 GW
The LORD…will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. Isaiah 51:3 KJV
Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. Philippians 4:6 VOICE
In the description of a spice-filled garden, splashing water goes before and after Song of Songs’ exquisite line-up of botanical beauty and aroma in chapter 4. Fort Worth Botanic Garden likewise has an intriguing trail of fountains and water features to make the garden a source of refreshing tranquility. God’s Word gives the subtle reassurance in metaphor that God’s love will quench our deepest thirsts. May the Lord spring up refreshing energy and revitalize you to serve your family this Thanksgiving Day.
My darling bride is like a private garden, a spring that no one else can have, a fountain of my own… A garden fountain, a well of living water, streams flowing from Lebanon. Song of Songs 4:12 TLB, 4:15 NABRE
O God of my life, I’m lovesick for you in this weary wilderness. I thirst with the deepest longings to love you more, with cravings in my heart that can’t be described. Such yearning grips my soul for you, my God! I’m energized every time I enter your heavenly sanctuary to seek more of your power and drink in more of your glory. Psalm 63:1-2 TPT
Jesus answered and said to her, “…but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14 NKJV
Apple & Apricot Trees
“Refresh me with apples (NIV),” the lover croons in Song of Songs, or was that apricots? As if water’s refreshment is not complete without love to make it sweet, most Bible translations name apples, although apricots trees are the more horticultural match to this lover’s coo and other mentions of apple in Scripture. Dig into the great apple-apricot debate in Chapter 11 of my new book, My Father is the Gardener, and find both trees planted at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden to help you enter in to this lovely metaphor. A honeyed detail: The apricot tree is named Stark® Sweetheart™, an intimate reflection of this Song of Songs passage. May you sense the sweetness of God’s love for you and find its eveidence in how everything and everyone comes together.
Oh! Give me something refreshing to eat—and quickly! Apricots, raisins—anything. I’m about to faint with love! Song of Songs 2:5 The Message
At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres… I had the leaders of Judah go up on top of the wall. I also assigned two large choirs to give thanks…The two choirs that gave thanks then took their places in the house of God; so did I… Nehemiah 12:27, 31, 40 NIV
I was always at the head of the worshiping crowd, right out in front, Leading them all, eager to arrive and worship, Shouting praises, singing thanksgiving— celebrating, all of us, God’s feast! Psalm 42:4 The Message
While roses are NOT a Bible plant; that is, not a likely plant species referenced in Scripture, nevertheless ‘rose’ had made its way into English translations as an expression of God’s love. It can hardly be helped! Roses are a wonderfully romantic flower and cannot seem to be shaken from translations— from the King James’ to modern era versions—of Song of Songs, the garden-book of love. Endless varieties and cultivars of Rosa species abound; thankfully public gardens plant them for us to take in broad vistas and beautifully bedded walkways of their floral elegance. May you be eclipsed and delighted by God’s grace and affection for you this day.
I am truly his rose, the very theme of his song. I’m overshadowed by his love, like a lily growing in the valley! Song of Songs 2:1 TPT
Let everyone give all their praise and thanks to the Lord! Here’s why—he’s even better than anyone could ever imagine. Yes, he’s always loving and kind, and his faithful love never ends. Psalm 107:1 TPT
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1 NIV
The plant with the most controversial reputation in the Bible—the fig tree—is planted plentifully at Fort Worth Botanic Garden. Figs are noted in Song of Songs, and likewise, these trees have “formed their early fruit;” that is, a winter crop of fruit that will not achieve the sweetness of summer fruits which ripen in warmer sunshine.
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. Song of Songs 2:13 KJV
The fig has many other mentions in God’s Word, and it is probably a perfect fit for Thanksgiving and any family relationships that are hard to endure: let it remind you, “Have faith in God!” (Mark 11:22). Look to Him in prayer and may He answer with relational harmony only possible with God. May mountains of offense and unforgiveness be moved on this day of Thanksgiving.
Remember, this was George Washington’s vision for our nation:
But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it. Micah 4:4 KJV
And a concurrent mention in 1 Kings 4:25 shows the root for his hope to enjoy “safety and happiness” in our new nation.
During Solomon’s lifetime Judah and Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, lived in safety, everyone under their own vine and under their own fig tree. 1 Kings 4:25 NIV
Let us join our first president, in his Proclamation for A National Thanksgiving, and keep the charge “to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor…” O Lord, keep our enemies at bay and may each and every family enjoy safety and happiness, your sweet fruitfulness in our sacred nation.
Let joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for your in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 TPT
Celebrate Thanksgiving with the Garden in Delight Proclamation of Faith
Read more about Biblical plants in public gardens in the Devotions Blog
Click here to dig deeper into Micah 4:4, Everyone Under their Own Vine and Fig Tree
Photo Credits: ©2022 Shelley S. Cramm Cover photo: A “Pasture Rose” with an abundant display of rose hips, lovely with Thanksgiving color. Find it tucked among the many beauties in the Rose Garden at Fort Worth Botanic Garden
AMP notes Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org
GW denotes Scripture quotations taken from GOD’S WORD®, © 1995, 2003, 2013, 2014, 2019, 2020 by God’s Word to the Nations Mission Society. Used by permission.
ISV denotes Scripture quotations from The Holy Bible: International Standard Version. Release 2.0, Build 2015.02.09. Copyright © 1995-2014 by ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission of Davidson Press, LLC.
KJV denotes Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, King James Version published in 1611, authorized by King James I of England, which is public domain in the United States.
NABRE denotes Scripture texts taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
NIV denotes Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.®
NKJV denotes Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
TPT denotes Scripture quotations taken from The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017, 2018, 2020 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ThePassionTranslation.com
VOICE denotes Scripture quotations taken from The Voice™. Copyright © 2012 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.