Hope and pray that you are doing well and staying safe.
It is hard to believe that next week we celebrate Thanksgiving. According to History.com, the first Thanksgiving celebrated in North America was in 1565 when “…a Spanish fleet came ashore and planted a cross in the sandy beach to christen the new settlement of St. Augustine. To celebrate the arrival and give thanks for God’s providence, the 800 Spanish settlers shared a festive meal with the native Timucuan people.” It wasn’t until nearly 60 years later that the famed Thanksgiving meal occurred when, “Colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts.” It was 1863 when Thanksgiving was officially declared a national holiday when President Abraham Lincoln called for an annual Thanksgiving celebration on the final Thursday in November.
Thanksgiving, as you may already know, is the one day of the year that we have set aside, as a nation, to offer our thanks to God for all that we have been blessed with. As Christians, we should really be doing this every day and not waiting for one day a year. But then, I guess turkey everyday would get kind of old. Okay, that was a bad attempt at a joke. Afterall, I do realize that Thanksgiving Day is a special occasion and that the big meal and family gatherings are something to, in and of themselves, give thanks for.
Although this year seems more challenging for a great many around the world, including many of you reading this note, thanks may seem like a difficult thing to give right now. That’s when we really need to stop what we’re doing, find a quiet place, take a deep breath, ask God for peace and understanding, then wait for God’s still speaking voice to come to you. Remember, God will very rarely come in a giant wind or a violent earthquake. Instead, God often shows up in a whisper to your heart. One that you may not even be aware of on a conscious level, but one that will resonate deep within your heart and soul. It is my prayer for you, that in that moment, you will know in your heart, the good that God has done in your life and in the world around you. That although things may be tough and beyond measure, that you are not alone and that God is, and always has been with you. If you can find no other reason, please find reason to give thanks in that. I would also invite you to remember that, whether you know it or not, you have a church family in New Hope Parish that cares deeply for you with the love of Christ. In this too, please find reason to give thanks to God.
Regardless of what has gone on and what the next day may bring any of us, with God, we always have reason to be thankful. I am reminded of the words from the Apostle Paul in Colossians 2:6-7 as translated in the Message, “My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him.
You’re well-constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.” (MSG)
It is again, my hope and prayer that you can find reason to give God thanks, not only on Thanksgiving, but every day of the year. That you can do as did the Psalmist in Psalm 147:7-11 tells us to do and “Sing to God a thanksgiving hymn, play music on your instruments to God, Who fills the sky with clouds, preparing rain for the earth, Then turning the mountains green with grass, feeding both cattle and crows.”
As I’ve said before, we as a church family continue to seek God’s wisdom on how we can keep our sanity and maintain our connections with each other during these challenging times of Covid-19. Together, with God’s help, we will persevere. If you’d like a call from me, I may need a nudge. So please, drop me a note and let me know. Please know that you each are always in my heart, thoughts and prayers. Please know too that I thank God every day for each of you and for the God given love and gifts that you bring to our church family and to God’s creation. The world is a better place because of each of you.
Be safe, love and serve the Lord and always, give God thanks.
Blessings, peace, and happy Thanksgiving,