Abounding in Thanksgiving!
The first Sunday in November marks a return to Standard Time. We may celebrate getting an extra hour of sleep on this day, but the days are now becoming noticeably shorter. There is also a chill in the air that reminds us that these soulful autumn days will give into the cold of winter. It is a time when one needs to take extra care of the body as it marks the beginning of the cold and flu season. In spite of the change in season November is a month of thanksgiving and celebration. We begin the month by giving thanks not only for the saints who have gone before us in faith, but for all the baptized people of God, living and dead, who make up the body of Christ. As we approach the end of November we mark with thanksgiving the end of one church year and anticipate the beginning of another. The last Sunday in November marks the last Sunday of the church year, Christ the King. The Thursday before Christ the King Sunday is the Day of Thanksgiving holiday in the USA. We will mark this in our congregation with our traditional 10:00 A.M. worship service. While harvest festivals are held the world over, the Thanksgiving Day celebration that is observed in the USA is unique. It is not just a religious or harvest festival, but a national holiday specifically set aside for giving thanks.
Our oldest daughter, Elsa, would begin Thanksgiving Day by making a list of all the things for which she is thankful. It became quite involved as she made columns on a blank paper and began listing everything she was thankful for. Often she would fill both sides of a blank paper with six columns on each side and fifty items per column. Her last list began with 1. God, 2. Jesus, 3. Family, 4. Friends, 5. Life . . . and ended with 599. Baptism, and 600. Holy Spirit. One year she had appendicitis, so she included “pain“ on her list, as well as doctors and nurses. When she went away to university, we left her list hanging in our family room not only as a keepsake, but also as a reminder to live lives of daily thankfulness.
Our theme for November comes from The Letter to the Colossians. This is a letter from Paul and Timothy to the Christians of Colossae, carried by Tychicus and Onesimus (the slave of Philemon) whom Paul met while in prison. Paul is now sending him back to Philemon to be received as a fellow follower of Jesus. Perhaps this is why Paul writes at the beginning of the last chapter (Col. 4:1): Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, for you know that you also have a Master in heaven.
The Letter to the Colossians is filled with admonitions to live thankfully. The portion from which our November newsletter theme is taken says to the church of Christ in Colossae “Now that you are in Christ Jesus, learn the depths of God's love for all by living your faith. Don't just talk the talk, but walk the talk. Most important of all, your life in Christ Jesus will be filled with thanksgiving. Indeed, your hearts will be filled with songs of thanksgiving, so with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. (Col. 3:16).
May you abound in thanksgiving through Jesus Christ!