In the heart of the Great Depression, one of the ministers at the Ministerial Alliance group suggested that maybe they should skip the community Thanksgiving service that year. Another minister quickly agreed, telling a couple of stories about how desperately poor some of his church members had become. Another talked about the malaise that had come over his congregation as they watched the misery of the Great Depression take hold. Yet another minister wondered if anyone would feel like celebrating. Would anyone even attend? Finally, one of the ministers stood up and said, “We have to lead a community Thanksgiving service this year. Of all the years, it is crucially important that we have the service this year. We must help our people, in these difficult days, to celebrate. We must help them give thanks.”
When times are difficult or confusing, it is especially important to be good at celebrating This shouldn’t be so hard for us, as this is part of our faith tradition.
When you look back, whether we look to the Old Testament tradition of the Hebrew people, the pilgrims, or the proclamation of a national holiday by Abraham Lincoln, the motivation for a celebration of Thanksgiving comes out due to hard times, not years of ease and prosperity.
Even when times are not as challenging, it is important to be good at celebrating.
A worthy Thanksgiving celebration requires good rituals, or strong traditions.
Some of the best memories of my life are from holidays and Thanksgivings that I spent with family.
As we move into Thanksgiving week, do you have the kinds of rituals and activities that will lead to the young ones in your family returning in their minds years from now to talk about how special this time was in their life? What meaning and spiritual nourishment will they take from your holiday celebration?
This weekend in worship we are going to celebrate Thanksgiving.
I will share the results of my survey on some of the things that make our church members top ten list of things for which they are thankful.
This is an important time for our church community to come together to give thanks.
It is also an important time for each of us as individuals and as members of families to prepare for Thanksgiving.
I invite you to come to worship with these questions in mind.
- Are you good at celebrating?
- Are you good at giving thanks?
- Does your Thanksgiving celebration have the strong traditions and rituals it needs?
I look forward to celebrating with you in worship.