Thanksgiving Letter

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
Philippians 4: 4

As I was sitting down to work on this letter I received an email from the church medical insurance people. It was their seasonal newsletter with advice for healthy living. This one was titled ‘Tired? Irritable? Distracted?’ It was about the impact (and prevalence) of chronic stress and anxiety. They chose a good theme. In the last couple of weeks I’ve had many people in my office, and out, who have been sharing their fears for the state of the world – internationally, locally & personally. (The door is always open.)

One of the lectionary readings for Thanksgiving is from Paul’s letter to the Philippians. He is writing from a place of suffering and uncertainty (sound familiar?) to a church that is in some turmoil & uncertainty. They are encouraged to “Rejoice in the Lord always” – something that’s hard to do without being thankful. But being thankful in times of suffering and uncertainty is also hard to do. How do we start?

Paul goes on to write, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” How do we start? We pray. We give our concerns to God. God can take it. The hard part is not going back to our concerns and picking them up again. And we do this “with thanksgiving.

Being thankful can just happen, but in times of uncertainty or anxiety it requires practice. Make a daily practice of listing things you are thankful for in prayer. Include your concerns, but make sure to include thanksgiving. You could also take a look at the list of ideas on the back (Yes, it’s the list from two years ago).

One thing I am grateful for is that we have access to education. This is an important part of being able to reach our God given potential. Over 260 million children, mostly girls, don’t have the opportunity to go to school. The Presbyterian World Service and Development (PWS&D) partners with many groups around the world to provide supplies and training. Some examples include: $27 provides a child with textbooks; $70 provides one student with school supplies (including a uniform and shoes); $165 supplies a school with blackboards, chalk, flipcharts and markers; and $375 helps send a student to school for a year. Our Thanksgiving offering will be going to the PWS&D to help children reach their potential, and improve their communities.

God blesses the world through us, and in us.
Let us practice being thankful and rejoice in the Lord always.

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