Greeting in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord;
“Everything that has been created by God is good, and nothing that is received with thanksgiving should be rejected” (I Timothy 4:4 – Common English Bible).
What a great holiday we are in the midst of! I know it may not be everything we had hoped it would be – what with distancing and video chat instead of hugs, kisses, and laughter. However, we can reflect in this time of difficulty on the gifts of fond memories and recalled family traditions. Truly, many of us are deprived of the comforts of Uncle Phil’s Old Spice mixed with pipe smoke and Grandma’s Oil of Olay over rosewater. But I encourage you to take a few moments to recall things previously taken for granted and honor the memories.
I continue to love Thanksgiving, not just for the special family gatherings, the “fine dining” and the televised football games, but for the simple reason that it gives honor to God in a unique way. No other holiday focuses on recognizing and being thankful for the blessings we have received. While I might wish it could be more in this time of the pandemic, I am reminded of all it has been in the past – and promises to be in the future. Colossians 3:15 reminds, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:15, NIV).
The LORD honors us when we give thanks. In Luke 17:11-19 we read an account of ten lepers who approached Jesus for healing. They cried out loudly, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” (Luke 17:13 3:15, NIV). 10 suffering people cried out to God for help. But once healed, nine of them went on their way without comment. One alone returned to Jesus praising God and giving thanks to him. This one was doubly blessed when he heard Jesus reply, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:19, NIV).
We need to be like the one who returned, joyful for receiving, loud in praise and thanksgiving. This year I encourage you to take the time to consider the multitude of blessings you have received. I know it seems harder this year than most. Yet, no matter what your circumstances, you have much to be thankful for.
Let me also take this opportunity to tell you that one of the things for which I am thankful this year is YOU. You are a vital part of the Body of Christ and a vibrant testimony of the power of God. I am thankful that the Lord has placed you as a friend of the Liverpool First United Methodist Church. I pray for each of you and wish that your Thanksgiving holiday may be filled with joy and laughter.
May God grant you a living faith by the power of his grace,
In His Service,
Raymond C. Gilman, Pastor