Notes from Brother Jay

In 1863, amid a war tearing America apart, President Abraham Lincoln gave us a new national holiday when he proclaimed the last Thursday in November, Thanksgiving Day.  The very first thanksgiving feast was recorded in history by Edward Winslow.  It was a feast which lasted 3 days and included 90 Native Americans and 63 Pilgrims.  The occasion?  The very first harvest in the New World!  (Wikipedia)   
      We celebrated ours on Friday this year at the parsonage.  We invited all of Kathy’s side of the family for brisket and lots of good things to go with it.  (I’m writing this on the Saturday before, so I hope we pull it off!)  My side is indeed welcome, but they travel to in-laws this year.  It was good.  Everybody got along.  Even the dogs and the cats offered their thanks!

      I often ask the question during our prayer time, “What are you thankful for?”  I often get one or two who speak up with some fundamental truth about family, the church, or God.  I, too, am grateful for them.   We ask the same question at our Women’s Book Study and Men’s Class Meeting on Monday and Tuesday nights.  While we might get one or two expressions of gratitude, we often sit in silence.  Sadly, many times I’m included in the quiet emptiness unable or unwilling to express something of my gratitude.
      Thanksgiving Day is gone for another year.  Black Friday came and went.  Tomorrow, “Cyber Monday,” we can indulge our shopping need again, acquiring those special Christmas gifts using the gift of technology.   Christmas is just around the next bend, over the next hill, in sight since October, with store displays galore.
      Have you ever noticed how difficult the holidays can get?  Stressful and unyielding, they offer the temptation to meet expectations aplenty, some coming from demanding relatives, many coming from demands we place on ourselves, and a profusion from the (holiday) culture itself.
      It’s hard to be grateful when we’re overwhelmed with so many concerns and the affairs of the world.
      What if we began to ask ourselves about gratitude every evening?  Perhaps around the dinner table, noon or night, we might challenge each other for expressions of what God has done for us?  At the close of the day we might turn off the tech, television included, and reflect on the gifts God offered, the challenges we worked through, or how he used us as a gift to someone else?  
      We might begin by looking for God at work in our daily lives.  He does, you know.  God’s Holy Spirit works in our lives and in the world around us to reveal God, to convince us of His love, to convince us of our need for salvation through Jesus Christ.   The Holy Spirit empowers our love and forgiveness of others, frees us from our sin’s hold, and empowers His people for Holy living.
      If we look, I believe we will see God doing this and much more in our lives, making gratitude as common as sunshine, as refreshing as rain, and as exciting as your child taking top honors!
      Happy Sunday!  Happy Thanksgiving!  Today, tomorrow and forevermore…


Brother Jay


p.s. Kathy and I continue to offer our thanks to God for all of you and for the appointment to the Ocilla/Irwinville Charge.


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