Thanksgiving, now known as Grey Thursday and now the infamous Black Friday are behind us. That leave us only twenty eight days (as I write this article) of Christmas shopping left before the big event so don’t slow down! If you do you will never get caught back up because besides the shopping there is so much going on at this time of year: Christmas programs, office parties, baking and more baking, making sure all the friends and relatives get visited, and by the way did you get your Christmas cards out on time? The Post Office has a deadline if you want those cards to get to where they need to get going by the time Christmas gets here!
In the past few years we are starting to get more Christmas cards after Christmas. We still get plenty of cards before Christmas but for those who still send and yet miss the big dead line we thank you. We thank you because even though we love to hear from you we know that time is a value and a precious commodity at this time of the year. We thank you for making some decisions that gave priority to the things you needed to do and had to get done. We hope those priorities included your worship and adoration of the true Christmas story that we find in the Gospels. We hope those priorities included your family, loved ones and the person next door who you very rarely see. We hope you took the time to make someone who is struggling this year to make their Christmas a day that God had intended; a day of blessing and thanksgiving.
What God did at this time of year is so mind boggling that the only thing that can compare is Easter morning. Christmas as in anything that God does is done out of love, but love takes time. So during this year’s festivities take time to show love and of course to be loved in the way God loves us all. Maybe the Christmas cards didn’t get in the mail in time to be delivered by December 24th, but they did get delivered! And we all got to remember love is never late because true love is always in God’s time not ours! So go out and have the most loving Christmas of your life! Diana, Will and I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!
See you on Sunday!
Rev. Dennis Hopes
November, 2018 Newsletter
I have been looking at November’s calendar and we got a lot going on before we get to Advent. We got Rally Day, we got Ingathering, we got RCA Thanksgiving Dinner, we got Thanksgiving, you got Black Friday. Then we got Hanging of the Greens and Advent (once again Advent starts in December). This is the church stuff then you add the personal stuff, the family stuff, the work, the farm and the business stuff and you got something that resembles an accident ready to happen.
I was told a Bivet is ten pounds of anything being stuffed into a five pound bag. If I had to say what is a good purpose for November is that we are to stop and give thanks to God from whom all blessing flow. That we are to remember the saints who have gone on before us that made our present time possible. It is a time to prepare for the coming of our Lord. The rains have stopped so harvest should be done by the end of November and we stop and give thanks.
Giving thanks should not just be a November discipline but it should be a daily practice in our prayer life. I remember Tommie, a homeless man who wrote on the cross of his conversion; “thank you Lord, you must love me very much you gave me another day.” As I read Tommie’s words I thought about what his day must look like compared to mine and he is thanking God for it! Tommie has no guarantee that the basics of life will be provided or obtained. Even life itself is always in question as random acts of violence, predators and the dangers of the streets take their arbitrary toll.
Giving thanks for what you got and have received has a way of turning a bad day into a good day. Being grateful even though you may have to re-define life because yesterday’s good life may be today’s not so good life. Circumstances change, and people get up on the wrong side of the bed or somebody didn’t do what they were supposed to do, and the day heads off in a different direction. No matter what we plan there can always be something that comes in between our desired results and the results we get.
My prayer book has four separate times to stop and worship, pray and read scripture each day. I am not a connoisseur of this practice. Mostly twice a day but four times a day? I sometime wonder what a day would look like if I did take the time and stop everything and spend those precious moment with the Lord instead of my own anxiety from trying to put ten pounds of my day, my worry and the pressure from it all into a five-pound bag?
What I am willing to do to remedy my own malady and I challenge each of you to do is to stop the world four times each day and give thanks to God for something that you appreciate receiving. You may be thankful for a good night’s sleep, a healthy meal, a random act of kindness or it’s just a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Maybe give a prayer for someone who you met during your day who either you helped them, or they made your day and life a better place. Try reading scripture or re-read the mornings devotion. But always thank God as God is there no matter what your day is working to make each and every day a blessing even though the world is trying to make it something God doesn’t want it to be.
So go out and enjoy November! And I will see you on Sunday!
Rev. Dennis Hopes
Pastor Kim Dewey