Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As you prepare to celebrate with family and friends this year, may you come together in peace and enjoy the fullness of the blessings of God! Let us take time to remember and say thank you for God’s blessings as we consider and prepare for the holiday season. A season which, rather than urging and helping us to focus on being thankful for all that we have already received, often beacons us to focus on what we are lacking. Often the peace that God means for us to experience during this time of celebrating our blessings escapes us. We become more and more anxious over the things that the world counts as “necessary” for life, like that new car, a better job, a more beautiful spouse or at least the 15-function coffee maker.
God calls us to a different, more peace-filled kind of wanting, a desire for more of God and what only God can provide. God’s grace washes away our mistakes and our endless hunger and thirst for things that don’t satisfy. By choosing to receive God’s grace we can come to trust God to meet our earthly and heavenly needs. When we embrace the fullness of the reality of our blessings, we are freed from our self-interest and we can begin to work for the needs of others i.e., the need for God’s grace, for compassion, for mercy and especially, for love. We become slaves to Christ instead of to self. Therefore, we can have peace in following Christ from a sense of fullness instead of the resentful obligation born of the endless wanting that comes from spiritual emptiness.
As we consider what it means to be thankful, let us not forget our calling to take up our cross and walk with God, humbly. Let us, as Wesley might encourage us, “do all the good we can, in all the ways we can, to as many as we can.” (paraphrase). Our Charge has received many blessings this year and I believe that God will continue to bless our ministry together. These blessings will increase as we allow God to give us eyes that see beyond our own needs. As we are able to live into the reality of what we have already been given, we will gain greater vision and hearing to acknowledge with whom we might share the love of Christ. Let us not grow weary in “doing good”. The fruits of perseverance are hard won, but Christ is walking with us always. We may struggle and yet we are full- of love and mercy.
I’d like to ask that as we consider our Thanksgiving gifts to the church this year, let us entrust God with the treasure God has given us to use these gifts to bless our communities in ways we may not have considered. The needs of the community are many. Happy Thanksgiving! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Your Fellow Servant in Christ,