“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. - Philippians 1:3-5
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up by him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” - Colossians 2:6-7
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for Thanksgiving. No, I haven’t bought a turkey or cleaned the house yet. No, I haven’t tracked down the fresh cranberries, nor completed all of the things that tend to pile up at this time of year - preparing for Advent (which always sneaks up SO quickly), articles for the December newsletter, etc. etc. But I’m ready nonetheless; because even with so much yet to do, I realize just how much I need to pause and give gratitude for what IS already and not just what will be or might be.
I know that when I really pause to notice, recall, and name those specific people, blessings, gifts, and experiences that have been a blessing to me, it has profound and long-term benefits for my health, my outlook, and my perspective. I am sensing the need for that again today! Therefore, I’m ready for giving thanks again, even if I haven’t accomplished all that might feel that I have to do.
How about you? I’ve provided a couple of resources that might help. First are the verses from St. Paul above. As much as I sometimes groan about his chronic verbosity, often each phrase can be a goldmine of insight, when I truly pause to let it sink in. See if one of them speaks to you today.
Secondly, I’ve provided a potential meal prayer for your use as you gather next Thursday (see below).
Please know just how grateful I am to have each of you as partners in ministry. As I look around and note all of the many ways in which so many of you have served, shared, endured, and encouraged, I can’t help but be amazed! Thank you for being a vital part of our community in Christ!
I hope that you’ll use this season to stop and be grateful for the incredible generosity that has already been shared as part of our annual Faith Promise request. In fact, 40 families have already collectively pledged nearly $190,000 toward Christ’s ministry here! If you haven’t already done so, please use their example to put your best foot forward as well - on “Giving Tuesday” if not beforehand, and let’s be humbled once again by what Christ is able to do through us! Happy Thanksgiving Week!
P.S. - All those who might be able to help us with holiday trees, whether indoors or out, are encouraged to drop me a note! We hope to be able to enjoy such annual rituals Monday-Wednesday of next week. We could likely use your assistance! Can you lend a hand?
PRAYER FOR THE THANKSGIVING TABLE
“Lord God, our hearts are crowded with gratitude as we celebrate this feast. We come to this table with great joy and eagerness, for we are truly needing to share our thanksgiving with you, O God, for all that you have provided. We pray for those whose hunger is all too real today. And we pause now, and in silent prayer, name the elements of your generosity… We thank you for gifts of family, of love and affection, and of those who are present at this feast today (name individuals), as well as for all those who have labored in love in order to provide this meal today. May you, O God, now bless this feast and all of us who shall share it, through Christ our Lord. Amen”