Thanksgiving is Coming

Pastor’s Pondering

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.
Psalm 100:4(NLT)

In just three weeks, we will enter the holiday season as we celebrate Thanksgiving. In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is traced to a sparsely documented 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts, and also to a well-recorded 1619 event in Virginia. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest.

Pilgrims and Puritans who began emigrating from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to New England. The 1619 arrival of 38 English settlers at Berkeley Hundred in Charles City County, Virginia, concluded with a religious celebration as dictated by the group's charter from the London Company, which specifically required "that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned ... in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God."

Hmmm! Other than perhaps saying grace as we sit down to our Thanksgiving feast, do we remember what we are celebrating? Thanksgiving in the 21st century has become a day to watch or attend Christmas parades, to spend hours in front of the television watching football and/or Christmas movies, and, now, heading out to the stores to shop for “Black Friday” deals!

What if we were to spend the day thanking God for our salvation through Jesus Christ and offering that “Good News” to others? Perhaps our churches could offer a Thanksgiving meal to those who don’t have family, friends or funds to prepare their own dinner, hold a Thanksgiving worship service, thanking God for all that God has given us, volunteering at a Thanksgiving dinner at a homeless shelter. There are a myriad of ways to celebrate Thanksgiving, while celebrating our faith.

I have been stressing revival and evangelism since I arrived as your pastor on July 1st. I hope not, but you may even be tired of the subject. That said, why has it become my mantra? The reason is that American churches are dying a slow death. The number of people in worship in the United States is dropping dramatically. People are leaving the church and not coming back.Hearts need to be changed. People need to de-velop or renew a relationship with the Lord, so that they want to be with him and count on him for help, just as they would a friend or family member. What can we do to help these people become part of the body of Christ? We need to pray fervently that they come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and we need to introduce them to Jesus. We need to live lives as Christians and we can start during this up-coming Holiday season. Invite friends or family members to join you for worship. Be sure to of-fer to pick them up. Direct them around the building. Sit with them at coffee. Take them out to lunch following worship. Statistics prove that the unchurched are more apt to attend wor-ship during the Holidays. Let’s encourage those we know who don’t have a church home.

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:16-17(NLT)

Dr. Greg and I wish each of you a blessed Thanksgiving, filled with family, friends, and,
especially, Jesus Christ.

Pastor Nancy

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