From the Pastor
Getting Ready for Thanksgiving
You’ve probably noticed the cultural pressure to get ready for holidays before they actually arrive. If so, you’ve taken stock of how that trend has accelerated over the years. Remember the quaint notion, once upon a time, that your local department store was trying to commercialize Christmas by putting out their Christmas gear before Thanksgiving? This year, our local wholesale club had their Christmas offerings out in July. I confess to being a serial procrastinator and having the inclination to go Christmas shopping later than I probably should, but this practice gives a whole other meaning to the term “Christmas in July”!
“Christmas in July” isn’t all bad. At Resurrection, we even have a yearly tradition of serving the needs of others that way. And getting ready for Thanksgiving Day in October (or any month of the year) is a salutary practice as well. St. Paul urges us to give thanks “in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thess. 5:18). Modern science is aligned with this encouragement. A posting on a research hospital website in March identified no less than five benefits from giving thanks and practicing gratitude: reduced symptoms of depression, less anxiety, improved heart health, reduced stress, and improved sleep. (To read the article, click here.) It is nice to know that our doctors agree with the encouragements we receive in the Scriptures! But as our loving God gives the gift of gratitude by all that He has done and continues to do for us purely out of “fatherly divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me” (Small Catechism, Apostles’ Creed, I), our doctor’s instructions are confirmation—not our first hearing — of what we already know to be true.
What does thanksgiving look like, as a lifestyle choice? That’s the question we will be asking throughout the month of October. A three-week sermon series on that very question, centered on the appointed readings for October 8-22, will highlight what it means to be a steward of God’s possessions, to live out God’s peace as people of contentment, and to be faithful in our response to “give unto Caesar” and unto God.
As we celebrate another anniversary of the Reformation this year, we give thanks to God and give Him the glory!
In peace and joy,