How can it be Thanksgiving when I am waiting for Fall to come back? Fall was too short, and it seemed Winter was too early. Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for what we have received, our blessings. Unfortunately, we live in a world with some who do not have enough.
As I was in line at Starbucks the other day, there was a man who was standing in the parking lot approaching people and obviously asking for money. I started to feel guilty. Guilty that I was even drinking a $5 coffee when there were hungry people who just needed food. I decided that I would give him something other than thoughts and prayers. As I waited -it was a very slow line, I noticed that he lit up a cigarette and I thought, well that’s not cheap. Then he reached in his pocket and pulled out his cell phone. He then left the area. As I was finally pulling out of the area, I had to wait for a car to pass. There he was in a car that was newer than mine. I wondered if I had just been saved from being scammed. Perhaps there was a reason why he was asking for money that had nothing to do with his cellphone, his cigarettes, and his nice car. Perhaps he was just experiencing an unfortunate circumstance. I would have still given him a few dollars if I had heard his story. People can be on top one day and in need the next.
Christ did not tell us to do an audit before we help our neighbor. My job is not to judge others but to love them. On Thanksgiving we count our blessings. My blessings are my family. I continue to be amazed that I have them and that, praise be to God, I am a Great Grandmother and I have a family that is loving and forgiving. I know families that are torn apart by petty things that will not matter in years to come. In fact, some families cannot remember exactly why they are mad, only that it must be a good reason. I met a woman years ago who would not have anything to do with her brother because of his lifestyle. I told her that I wouldn’t care if my brothers came back as orangutans, I would accept and love them and even buy an endless supply of bananas. I am thankful for my faith. It allows me to live a god-centered life and a life of confidence. I am thankful that I can buy a $5 cup of coffee twice a week and that I don’t worry about enough food on the table or clothes on my back or a place to live. I am thankful for the life I have lived; it hasn’t always been easy and has had it’s share of hardship, but it gave me gratitude for the life I live now. I am thankful for a loving and forgiving God who even forgives me for the orangutan remark. Happy Thanksgiving!
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again. Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:4-6
God, we give you thanks in all things. We ask you Lord to be with those who are ill, especially the little children. With your mighty power heal them and restore them to good health. Be with the parents and families of those that are ill, may they feel your comfort and strength. Be with those who are grieving loss at this season, may they be comforted by the memories of their loved ones. Be with those who have received good news, may they turn to you with gratitude and love and may they be drawn closer to you. Be with those facing illness, may they be strengthened by your love. Be with our Pastor and his family, be with our staff and our leaders, guide them and give them your confidence and love. In Jesus name, Amen.