In the church calendar, November tends to be the month when churches think about budgets. The Council forms the budget committee, the pastor preaches at least one if not several sermons on how important it is that the church is financially supported by our offerings. It's something we know is coming every year, we expect it (and dread it).
Then we have Thanksgiving, when we pause to give thanks for God’s wonderful creation. As we prepare ourselves for the holiday rush that will soon begin. Television advertisements will remind us we need to purchase another thing in order to be fulfilled; do this or that to make our lives better. I hope we can step back from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives and overflowing tables and thank God – thank God for the extraordinary blessings we receive from the ordinary, everyday things in our lives.
I was tempted, but I am not going to write about financial stewardship so as to incite guilt and shame for a momentary response to a fiscal shortfall. Nor am I going to list all of the things for which I am thankful just because November happens to be the month for Thanksgiving. To use these themes seems more than a little manipulative.
Society uses manipulation: guilt, anger, shame, disgust as the means of getting things done. Ought not the Christian community, the body of Christ, figure out a better, more effective way of motivating people; of encouraging people towards a better way of doing something? Such as gratitude. Being grateful for something is incredibly different than simply being asked to donate something or giving something to someone who is in need because we have been asked to do so.
Gratitude is connecting with the love of God that reached out to us. God's love came to us in Christ Jesus, who gave his life as the ultimate act of selfless love.
I hope and pray that as we enter into the holiday season, we can find numerous ways of showing our gratitude to God for all God has done, for how the church lifts and uplifts us, and for the many Saints that have been a part of all our lives from our birth through our death.
Praise God! O give thanks to God, for God is good; for God’s steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 106:1)
With the Greatest of Hope!