FAITH CONNECTION – FARMERSVILLE UMC
Reflection – Thanksgiving Part III – Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks
Thanksgiving sits at the very core of what it is to be Christian. We praise God and give thanks to God, knowing our efforts alone are not enough to either sustain life or to even make life worth living, not to mention acquiring eternal life.
Thanksgiving may be my favorite holiday. Now I know as a Christian I am probably supposed to say Christmas or Easter, but we cannot always help our feelings.
I really like light. It brings me joy. So in the late days of November, as the dark hours in the day increase, it can start to wear on me. For me Thanksgiving stands as a beacon which gets me through to Christmas. By Christmas, the days increase with light again. The literal expansion of natural light has the physiological effect of lifting my spirits.
This year, as we enter maybe the darkest time of the pandemic, many of us will not be able to gather in the fashion and with the traditions which we find grounding, renewing, and relationship building. ‘Rejoicing always’ may be difficult. It may be hard to have the energy to pray without ceasing, or to give thanks in all circumstances.
But this is God’s will for us. If we learn to give thanks for all God has brought us through, or if we find something to rejoice about in every situation, or if we pray without ceasing, as much as this is possible, we may find ourselves much more ready to live with the positive and hopeful energy God so wants his faithful to enjoy.
Testing Paul’s words is worth a try, given people around the world still find strength, hope, and comfort in them 2000 years after he wrote them. They bear repeating:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
God of creation, God of the universe, God of our hearts and souls, for the love You pour into our hearts and call us to share with others, we give You thanks. For the scriptures which nourish our souls we give You thanks. For the challenges of the gospel which stretch our minds and our bodies by calling us to serve others, we give You thanks. For the emotional and spiritual growth responding to Your call brings, we give You thanks. For Jesus, the bread of life, who comes into our lives and feeds us like ‘bread from heaven’ we give You thanks. Amen.