I AM THANKFUL … SO WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR!
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians -18
“In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, ‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” Matthew 3:1-3
I AM THANKFUL! The Thanksgiving holiday invites us, and perhaps sometimes shames us, to a place of gratitude for what we have in our life, what we have experienced over the past year, and hopes for the days to come. I have been intrigued this year by a Facebook trend of posting 30 days of Thankfulness during the month of November. There are many really nice thoughts of gratitude for family and friends, work, home, and so on, but will this change the lives of these “posters” from onward? I pray it does … guess I need to stay tuned.
So I send out my own attitude of gratitude invitation to you. Rather than posting our thankfulness, I invite you to give thanks IN PERSON to at least one person each day, and that person is to be someone who gives a gift to your life that you do not know all that well, or even at all! This can be a teacher of your children, a police officer, fire fighter, or paramedic, a postal worker, the one who collects your trash, and I really commend giving thanks to anyone and everyone who serves our freedom in the military. You do not have to know them, and better yet if you do not. Give thanks for who they are and what they do to bless your life, in person, for the next 365 days! One person a day … giving thanks for the blessing they are in your life … in person! Try this for the year to come, and see what happens to your heart and soul.
But then, as the clock strikes on Thanksgiving Day, SO WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR rises from the decimated carcass of the turkey and the sink filled with dishes! The Christmas “consuming machine” has already shifted into high gear, and now propels at warp speed in days ahead. In contrast [but isn’t that the way God works], the church says SLOW DOWN as we enter the Season of Advent with the invitation to waiting … watching … wondering … silencing the cacophony of the world outside, and the one inside of our own creation.
The past few years, we have placed a small Jesse Tree [read Isaiah 11 for an explanation] in our entry hall. We have small paper ornaments on which people can write their prayers, hopes, or needs on the tag and hang on the tree. It usually is full come Christmas Eve, making it hard to even see the tree on which they hang. Then, much as in our lives, the symbols of our Christmas celebration are taken down and put away for another year. However, I collect all those prayer “ornaments” in a small basket and keep in my office. During the year, I regularly read and pray the many offerings you raise this holy season. Here are a few Advent gifts for you to join me in prayer from the past year:
“For honest & honorable work … Fill my heart with love & trust of God … For my family to be a family again … I hope to get through Middle School … Hope for all children to always feel safe … Remove all my fearfulness & change me to love without ceasing … Peace in my heart to get over my ex … Pray for our President & bring love & peace to our nation … Keep God first & our priorities in right order … Hope for love enduring & everlasting marriage & family … For those martyred children & teachers of Sandy Hook, & their families left behind in grief … Pray to find a good life without drinking anymore … Pray that I will do something to care for nature and our environment …”
These are just a few of the many I have prayed this year past. I am looking forward to what may come of our prayers this Advent season. Maybe one of them will be yours?
A very blessed and grateful Thanksgiving to you and your family, and a most precious and holy Advent.
O come Emmanuel, o come!