The thanksgiving meal and… ummm… “difficult” people

The past week or so has been a week of angst on social media and the media in general. How do you have a nice meal with people who are not in your political camp?

Mostly, it’s about “tolerating” the “difficult” people. (It never occurs to us that we’re the difficult ones at times.)

Continue reading “The thanksgiving meal and… ummm… “difficult” people”

Thanksgiving prayer

Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

On this Thanksgiving week: a prayer

Almighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech you that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of your favor and glad to do your will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion us into one united people. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in your Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to your law, we may show forth your praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in you to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A prayer of thanksgiving

Help Me Thanksgiving Day Prayer

O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.
Amen.

-Samuel F. Pugh

With Thanks

I try to read Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation. This year seems even more appropriate. Lincoln make a Thanksgiving proclamation in the middle of the Civil War.

The Union had the victory at Gettysburg and the tide had turned, but the war was still raging. The outcome may have been hopeful, but there was a long way to go. And in the midst of that turmoil, he had the nation pause to give thanks.

These words bear meaning even today:

And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.

While giving thanks, let us remain humble. We, too, find ourselves in perilous times. While war doesn’t rage on our shores, we are not a nation at ease. We fight battles within over race, poverty, justice, immigration, and more. We fight battles in other places, placing thousands of soldiers in harm’s way. We face an enemy in ISIS that wants to tear us down.

And in the midst of this time we give thanks. We humbly give thanks.

I jotted some things in my journal reflecting on this past year. Our church has gone through a tremendous transformation. My own family has gone through many blessings as we have added family, and a new grandbaby on the way before the end of the year. Through many trials we find the grace and peace of God. We find his provision. We find his strength.

The Lord is good to us, even if we don’t want to acknowledge it. His rain comes on the righteous and the unrighteous, so even if there are those who will not acknowledge, we draw breath by his grace and that is worthy of giving thanks.

We don’t know what is ahead as a nation, necessarily. We will continue in struggle over so many issues. But on this day, we give thanks.

If a nation in civil war can pause and give thanks, our nation on this day can pause to do the same.

Dreaming about what IS possible

2 In the days to come
the mountain of the Lord’s house
will be the highest of the mountains.
It will be lifted above the hills;
peoples will stream to it.
3 Many nations will go and say,
“Come, let’s go up to the Lord’s mountain,
to the house of Jacob’s God
so that he may teach us his ways
and we may walk in God’s paths.”
Instruction will come from Zion;
the Lord’s word from Jerusalem.
4 God will judge between the nations,
and settle disputes of mighty nations.
Then they will beat their swords into iron plows
and their spears into pruning tools.
Nation will not take up sword against nation;
they will no longer learn how to make war.

5 Come, house of Jacob,
let’s walk by the Lord’s light. (Isa. 2:2-5)

This is a day of thanks. This is also the week leading us into the first Sunday of Advent. The Old Testament text is the one above from Isaiah.

As I meditate on these verses, and look back at Isaiah 1, I am mindful that in our day we can focus too closely on Isaiah 1 and the current headlines. There is MUCH to be upset about.

But Isaiah chose to SEE something different. He saw what was POSSIBLE. On this day I am so thankful for what I do have in my life that God has brought. I am content. He is so incredibly gracious to me.

And on this day I want to also continue dreaming about what IS possible. I don’t want to dream my own dreams. I want to dream God’s dreams. Isaiah SAW what God could do. This wasn’t HIS dream. It was GOD’S dream.

Dreaming God’s dream today. And being thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!