Dear Church family,
As we approach Thanksgiving I catch myself humming my favorite hymn of this season:

“Now thank we all our God
with hearts and hands and voices.
Who wondrous things hath done,
in whom this world rejoices.”

What a wonderful thing it is that we have a national holiday that forces thankfulness upon us! So much of life can pass us by and we miss the “thank you” part of it. And, of course, depending on how life is going right now we might think we are too tired to be thankful or too overwhelmed or carrying too many problems. But, the thing is, thankfulness is not an “extra” responsibility we should see through. Thankfulness can actually help get us through our weariness and our problems. Author and pastor Max Lucado describes it so well in his little book on prayer called Before Amen:

“To say thanks is to cross the tracks from the have-not to the have-much, from the excluded to the recruited. Thanks proclaims, ‘I’m not disadvantaged, disabled, victimized, scandalized, forgotten, or ignored. I am blessed.’ Gratitude is a dialysis of sorts. It flushes the self-pity out of our systems. In Scripture the idea of giving thanks is not a suggestion or recommendation; it is a command. It carries the same weight as ‘love your neighbor’ and ‘give to the poor.’ More than a hundred times, either by imperative or example, the Bible commands us to be thankful. If quantity implies gravity, God takes thanksgiving seriously” (Before Amen, 82-83).

He is right. Thankfulness works. But how can we begin to center our lives around giving thanks? Both in his book and in what he said to our congregation in person when he was with us a couple of years ago, Lucado recommends thinking about an alphabet of thankfulness when you go to sleep each night. Start with the letter A and think of one thing you are thankful for that begins with an A. Then go on to B and C and D and so on. In my experience you are usually calmer by letter H, feeling grateful by letter P, and asleep before you can get to Z. That is because thankfulness reminds us of who we are, of what we’ve been given, and of the One who loves us. On this Thanksgiving I pray you will find much for which you can be thankful.

Go ahead, it will be good for you.

In Christ’s peace,