Thanksgiving reflections

Rev. Jean Newell, Associate Pastor, Sun Lakes United Methodist Church

There was a time when some friends and I designated Tuesday nights as our get together nights. Because of our schedules, it was rare that all of us could make it on the same Tuesday night. However, we finally got together one Tuesday and shared a meal. Later, as we left the restaurant and headed to our cars, I thought about how easy it is to take friendship for granted and how glad I was we had finally been able to spend some time together. That got me thinking about the holidays that were just around the corner and how easy it is to take holidays for granted. How easy it is to take God’s blessings for granted!

As a kid, I took holidays for granted. Holidays always happened! Holidays were always special times. Depending on the holiday, sometimes we even had to go to church! We would decorate the house, and Mom would make all our favorite foods; I loved her homemade cinnamon rolls with raisins! The holiday table would be set with all the extras — a holiday tablecloth and napkins, special serving dishes and seasonal candles. The food was plentiful, colorful and delicious! After we had finished eating and cleaning up, we would play board or card games. According to Dad, we made way too much noise and disturbed him while he was napping – ah, watching sports on TV. Holidays were the best!

As so often happens, life changes as you grow older. As much as I looked forward to holidays as a kid growing up, there came a time when I no longer took them for granted; in fact, I dreaded them! Church was no longer a requirement, so sometimes I went and sometimes I didn’t. I did decorate the house for the holidays, though. I helped prepare the food; I put on a game face for my kids, but the holidays had lost their spark for me.

Now with the holiday season almost here, I’ve been thinking about how things have changed for me once again – this time for the better! Holidays, once again, are a special time, but now I think I appreciate them more than ever before and I am thankful for all they represent — fun and fellowship, family and friends and faith.

The psalmist wrote: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever; and his faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100:4-5)

Times change. Life changes. We change, but God does not! There will be days when we will wear our game faces and there will be days we won’t; days we will take holidays for granted and days we won’t. During this Thanksgiving season, may we be intentional and not take God for granted. May we give thanks to God for flowers that bloom, for freedom to worship, for family and friends, for food and fellowship, and most of all, for His son, Jesus the Christ!