I hope and pray that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration. As you gather around tables with loved one and are sorely aware of those you wish were there be blessed. May deep connections and joyful laughter fill your conversations. Be loved and be loving.
How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith.
Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
The appointed text for this Sunday (the first Sunday of the new church year and the first Sunday of Advent) is one that is most fitting for Thanksgiving as well. Paul is longing to be reunited face to face with the saints in Thessalonica. Their relationship has been sustaining.
As you receive or go and visit people (family, friends, siblings in Christ) who have given you joy and sustained you over the years be blessed. Thank God and savor the moments. Take your shoes off and linger on that holy ground. Allow God to shape and create holy reunions. Abound in love for God and for one another.
Allow God to stir your love for those who cross your path as you go about your celebration of these days set aside for Thanksgiving. If you go out shopping on Black Friday take with you an attitude of love and charity. Perhaps you could stop by the Salvation Army kettles or find your way to a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter or a Thanksgiving dinner for those dining on the “Island of Misfit Toys”. Let your heart grow a few sizes this year and set an extra setting of roast beast out just in case someone happens by the door.
Jesus says it pretty clearly in Matthew 25:40: whatever we do unto the least of Jesus’ brothers and sisters we do unto Jesus.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving with friends, family, loved ones and Jesus.
God, how do we begin to thank you for all you have done for us? Even the things in our life that are not from you that we cling to and imperil our intimacy with you are things that you graciously endure and extract from our lives. Thank you. You work all things for good in our lives. Help us cherish your kindness and steep in your love and extend them both to the hurting world in which we sojourn. Amen.