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 | By Michelle Sessions DiFranco

Celebrating the Bounty of the Lord

Along with potatoes, turkey and other Thanksgiving fare, squash was native to the New World. But I was surprised to learn that the butternut squash did not arrive until the 1940s when Charles Leggett, of Stow, Mass., experimented with crossbreeds of pumpkin and gooseneck squash. Butternut squash got its name from its nutty taste and smooth, buttery texture and, up to this day, has lent itself to countless recipes and many Thanksgiving dinners!

It is almost symbolic how the various elements of the Thanksgiving feast declare the unexpected nature of God’s bounty. His gifts often arrive when we least expect them and in new, unfamiliar forms. When the very first pilgrims arrived in the new world to seek religious freedom and a better life, the onset of winter threatened their very lives.  Their situation was dire. But their deliverance arrived through the generosity of people they did not know, who used a language they could not speak, and who arrived with foods they had never seen. So often it is with God. We expect our prayers to be answered in ways that we want or expect them to be. We expect familiar solutions. But God’s graces come to us in unexpected ways, and we find ourselves giving thanks to him for blessings we could not have foreseen.

In the moments of our own lives when things may seem dark or hopeless, and we ask ourselves how we are going to make it through, Thanksgiving can be a reminder of God’s endless bounty and goodness. We cannot predict what the Lord has in store. But we do know that he will provide for us, and his bounty is worth celebrating.

Michelle Sessions DiFranco is a designer and the busy mom of three children.

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash

(serves 4-5)

  • 1 large butternut squash (cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary plus more for topping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat one large or two smaller baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray (or line with parchment paper).

Place the cubed squash in a large mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, pepper and chopped rosemary. Toss until well coated. Spread the cubed squash evenly among the one or two baking sheets in a single layer.

Place the pan/pans in the oven and roast for 30-35 minutes or until the squash is tender. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving dish Top with additional chopped rosemary and enjoy!