Thursday, November 20, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!  Psalm 95

This evening at church, we enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast.  There was turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and of course, pumpkin pie.  There is something about this combination of food that fills us with comfort, joy, and Tryptophan to grant us all a peaceful night's rest.  Thanksgiving is also a time of counting blessings, reflecting on what brings us joy, and makes us laugh. 

Thanksgiving is a threshold moment too.  We know that 2014 is dwindling and soon a new year will dawn.  We know that December days are packed with a variety of tasks and parties and events.  The cooler winds, even in Florida, proclaim that change is in the air.  

Music plays a key role in this time of year.  Familiar carols fill the airwaves as we shop, drive down the road, entertain, decorate, on television specials.  So, here is my challenge to you:

First, this season listen to the carols.  Really listen to the words.  What do the words and phrases describe?  How do they point to the mystery of God breaking into the world?

Second, which of the traditional Advent words (hope, peace, joy, or love) would you associate with that carol and why?  The why is really the interesting part.  When out at lunch with a church friend, talk about which category "O Little Town of Bethlehem" or "O Holy Night" might fall into and why you think that way.

I pray this will fill you with joy and help you make a joyful noise this season.  I pray as you give thanks in worship on Sunday and throughout the coming weeks, what are you most grateful for?
I know for me my random list is:

A loving family with two growing, healthy kids
A wife who understands and loves me
A diverse church to serve as a pastor
The challenges, good challenges, I face every day
And of course, Thanksgiving feasts that end with pie.

May your Thanksgiving and the rituals you engage in over the coming week bring you more than a trace of God's grace.

Happy Thanksgiving and blessings ~


  1. Good evening Pastor Wes!

    My name is Katie and I am a member of the UCC Church in Chester, NH. I'll be visiting Sarasota during the week of Christmas this year and look forward to visiting your church. If you could use an extra voice in your choir, please let me know!

    Have a great evening and I look forward to meeting you soon,

    1. Hi Katie,
      Thank you so much for your email and comment. I am delighted to hear you will be spending Christmas here in Florida, we look forward to welcoming you to the church. By all means, please feel free to sing in the choir. I will let our director, Greg, know. I pray you had a happy Thanksgiving and staying warm in NH. I served, for a brief time, in Hillsboro and have fond memories of the area. God's blessings for a holy Advent and I look forward to meeting you.

    2. Thank you Pastor Wes! I will be arriving tomorrow and staying through next Sunday and am excited and willing to jump in wherever I am needed! I'm a great sight reader, have a big range, and I play handbells too if that's helpful. I'm really excited to meet you! Have a great evening, Katie