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Thanks·giv·ing
/thaŋ(k)s-ˈgi-viŋ/
Noun

  1. the fourth Thursday in November in the U.S. (or the second Monday in October in Canada) celebrated as a legal holiday for people to be thankful for what they have.
  2. a prayer that expresses thanks to God.
  3. the section in our hymnal that includes hymns #819 – #886 (see praise, thanksgiving)

‘Tis the season.  ‘Tis the season of going shopping and seeing Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all crammed into one corner.  ‘Tis the season when we are called to give thanks and praise to God, but we most likely end up forgetting to do that as we plan our travel agendas, our multi-course meals, our shopping trips on Good… er… Black Friday, etc.  This is a busy time of year.  And in the mix and chaos of it all, our Creator is often forgotten, or at the very least, put on the back burner by the cranberry sauce.

Let’s make this article interactive!  Take a moment to breathe.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Now answer this question: Today, in this very moment, what are you most thankful for?

** your answer here –> _______________________________________________________________________________

Nice!  Now take another moment and give thanks to God.  Maybe a little something like:

Dear God, I give you thanks for (see answer above).  Thank you for giving this to me as a

gift — a sign of your gracious, abounding, steadfast love.  And while I’m at it, thanks

also for that love!  Help me to remember that I am a steward of all the gifts you give

and help me to live with a grateful and joyful heart.  Amen.

In our world, it’s easy to forget how to be grateful.  We think that if we work hard enough, we deserve what we receive in return.  This feeling even occurs when exchanging gifts: “I got the BEST gift for my friend/relative… I DESERVE an equally amazing gift in return… as a sign of their love and affection.”  Okay, maybe you haven’t said or thought that specifically, but I know that when we DON’T receive gifts from a loved one, it can hurt.  Let’s change this mindset.  Let’s change how we approach this upcoming holiday season and let’s practice gratitude — legitimate, authentic gratitude — not because the season calls for it or because we’re obligated to do so, but because it’s an opportunity to share with others what God has given us and what God has done for us and continues to do for us every day.

Remember: Soli Deo Gloria, Glory to God Alone.

As we prepare our travel plans, our meals, our shopping adventures, or what have you, let’s remember and be thankful for the One who has given us the ultimate gift: the gift of life, both here on earth and that of the eternal variety.  And if you need help doing this, check out hymns #819 – #886… they are pretty neato songs of praise and thanksgiving, and also serve as a reminder of what there is to be thankful for.

Happy, blessed Thanksgiving to all of you!
Pastor Ally