Surely I’m not actually sitting down to write an article about Thanksgiving already, am I? We have had so many wonderful things happening here at Zion this year, and it does seem to make the days go quickly. 2017 is flying by! I’ve already scrapped frost from my car windows in the morning, a sign that the seasons are ready to change even if I’m not ready for it.
Thanksgiving was always one of my favorite holidays growing up, because we would go see my Grandma and Grandpa Mouri, just outside of Chicago. We’d bundle up, pile the car with our bags and some snacks for the road, and head up I-65. As a kid, this journey seemed like it took forever because I was filled with so much anticipation and excitement. My cousins were waiting for me and had probably started playing games without us. I knew my grandparents’ house would smell like freshly-baked bread, chocolate chip cookies, and steaming hot rice (we always had rice and sushi at my grandparents’ house, even during Thanksgiving dinner). The road to my grandparents’ house seemed like it was the longest road in the world to me, but I knew that no matter how many traffic jams we found ourselves in or how many construction zones clogged up the interstate, the wait would be worth it. There were so many things to celebrate and for which we could give thanks together as a family.
The trip up to see my grandma never seems that long anymore, even with the never-ending construction on the interstate. When my family gets together for Thanksgiving it’s still filled with fun and excitement, but not in the same way as when I was a kid. When we take our seats at the table, I feel a tinge of grief bubble up inside me—grief that my grandpa is no longer with us and grief that my grandma’s dementia takes a little more of her each year—but there’s also a deep and abiding thankfulness to God for those childhood Thanksgivings when we were all together. The seasons of life have matured the kind of thanksgivings I bring to God. When we go around the table to share our thanksgivings, I recognize more fully the beauty of what God has done in my life. If you know anyone for whom the holidays remind them of the losses in their lives, invite them to the Blue Christmas Worship Service that the Franklin Township Ministerial Association will host on Sunday, December 17 at 6:00 pm at Franklin Central Christian Church so they can experience God’s comfort among friends.
As the air begins bring a chill with it, I am mindful that, for many people, the changing of the seasons is hard for them. We have too many neighbors who can’t afford their heating bills. We have too many neighbors who have to sleep on the streets at night. We have too many neighbors who struggle to put food on the table, let alone provide a big holiday feast for their families.
Friends, during this holiday season, we have the chance to share our blessings with our neighbors and each other. We will be collecting a lot of food during this holiday season. Our Raise the Roof Music Festival is our first big push for items for God’s Bounty. Encourage your friends and family to join us for this fun afternoon and to bring food for God’s Bounty. As is our tradition, we will collect as many canned goods for God’s Bounty as possible on the Sunday before Thanksgiving (Nov. 19). We want the steps to our altar to be filled with food-offerings of gratitude and thanks! I’ll take those items with me to the Franklin Township Ministerial Association Thanksgiving Worship Service, in which I will be participating. You’re invited to join us at 7:00 pm at Southminster Presbyterian Church on Tuesday, November 21. It’s amazing to see how generous our the churches that support God’s Bounty are. Finally, God’s Bounty is wanting to provide Christmas dinner bags to their clients, and they have asked us to collected the stuffing for the 200 bags they hope to put together. Let’s pack the sanctuary full of boxes of stuffing! We have until December 10th to meet this goal. A can or two might not seem like a lot, but it can make the holidays a little brighter for our neighbors. I can’t wait to celebrate with you all that we are thankful for at our Thanksgiving Dinner on Friday, November 17th.