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Autumn Foliage

Thanksgiving to “Thanksliving”

I hope each of you have (or had, depending when you read this), a good and blessed Thanksgiving. I’m very fortunate that Thanksgiving brings a myriad of wonderful memories and feelings. As a child it meant delicious feasts, sometimes playing in the Lake effect snows of northern Ohio, and half a week of no school. In the season of raising a family it was the excitement of our kids looking forward to the “great trip to Grandmother’s” (my parents in Indiana) house” where I and Jodel would reconnect with mom and dad, see and catch up with my siblings and their spouses, and our children could reconnect with their cousins. There would be laughing, lots of conversation, old jokes reshared, and in the basement the pack of cousins creating “shows” & plays. Productions with parents and grandparents watching and applauding. Even now, in this season of our lives, it continues with our grown children coming “Up North” to gather together with extended family sharing in laughter, good food, and making memories. I pray each of you enjoy the abundance of God’s love and blessing on this day of celebrating blessings.

As we give our thanks may we be acutely aware of the opportunities to manifest our thankfulness in lifestyles expressive of sharing and extending blessings to others. There is the old adage that “One is blessed to be a Blessing”. God’s abundance of gift, grace, resource and ability is given for the cause of the Commonwealth of Christ. We are not to hoard our blessings, be miserly of our resources, or stingy in sharing. The very title of the holiday bespeaks our response to such blessing and abundance!

What if we were to change the title of the holiday from Thanksgiving to “Thanksliving”? Might that help us understand that it is in the lifestyle of gratitude, gratefulness, and humility that we attend to our neighbor’s need as God attends to ours. That we show – no, live out – appreciation with choices of conservation and control instead of gross consumption, gluttony, and greed.

Let our new Thanksliving lifestyles demonstrate our understanding that what we have is through God’s good graces and not through our own doing. Yes, we are to work hard in building and nurturing family, loving your neighbor, contributing to the betterment of your community, brightening your world. But understand, from your health to your resources, from your time to your creativity – all this comes from a loving, abundantly blessing God. At Christmas, we talk of the “God of the manger”. At Easter, it’s the God of the Cross and Empty tomb. How about for Thanksgiving we speak of the “God of the towel”. Christ, who though Divinity incarnate, as Son of God, still washed the feet of the very disciples who would, even after this act of grace and servanthood, deny and betray him.

In Thankfulness to all God’s blessing the Lord pours into our lives, may we move from the “noun” of the holiday to the “verb” of living out lifestyles of servanthood, humility, and extending blessing. I pray your Thanksgiving Holiday and this whole holiday season is full of family, friends, laughter, tears of thankfulness and joy, and celebrate God’s abundant and continual love. Happy Thanksgiving!

Be God’s, Pastor Jim

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