What Happened to Thanksgiving!?
A strange thing happened this week. No, it doesn’t have to do with the Presidential Election. And no, it isn’t the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series for the first time since 1908. Though that was fun (for them!). It has to do with Halloween - or, better yet, the day after.
Those of you who know your church calendar will know the day after Halloween is All Saints Day, which honors the saints of the church. Halloween, of course, derives it’s name from being just before this Christian holy day: All Hallow’s Eve.
But, no, that’s not what I’m thinking about either. This year I noticed, more than ever before, how Christmas decorations came out on November 1st. Both online and in stores, our world jumped from Halloween right into Christmas.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for celebrating Christmas - it is the good news of God’s love revealed in Jesus, who left His home in heaven that we might be adopted into the family of God! We should celebrate that all year round!
What troubles me is that by jumping from Halloween to Christmas, we could totally bypass Thanksgiving. Now that I’m writing my thoughts down, perhaps it’s strange, but it’s not all that surprising. To put it in purely economic terms, Thanksgiving doesn’t really “sell.” Sure, there’s a turkey here and some stuffing there, but Thanksgiving doesn’t grab our culture’s attention like Halloween or Christmas. Indeed, it’s strange, but not surprising.
As followers of Jesus, I hope we fully engage in Thanksgiving. Not just around our collective tables on November 24th, but as a spiritual exercise whereby we recognize God’s goodness to us.
1st Chronicles 16.34 puts it succinctly: “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
May we continue to be and become those who recognize all we have to be thankful for! And while the world around us may seem to skip right over Thanksgiving, may we boldly express our gratitude for God and for one another.
It’s no mistake this is also the season that I, alongside our Stewardship Team, and on behalf of our Session, send out next year’s Stewardship Letter and Pledge Card. I do so because pledging our commitment to the work of God through Good Shepherd fits best in November, as we pause to reflect on all that we have to be grateful for. During this season, with its slight lull in activity before the busyness of December, we are able to see clearly how good God is and how good it is to be gathered into a family of faith like Good Shepherd.
This week you will receive a Stewardship Letter and Pledge Card, an opportunity to pledge your financial support for the work of God through Good Shepherd. I hope you will take time to reflect on God’s goodness, then think deeply and pray diligently over your commitment to your church home, and our commitment to "invite all people to grow into a Christ-centered life in God’s family." As instructions in the forthcoming letter will detail, we will collect these Pledge Cards on or before Sunday, November 27th, just 3 days after gathering around tables of turkey and stuffing.
Thank you, as always, for calling me to serve as your Pastor. It is an honor to be part of such a thoughtful, caring family of faith.