Dear Oak Grove Friends,
I discovered an interesting phenomenon that happens for pastors last week. While everyone else was planning Thanksgiving meals and family gatherings, I was working on Advent and Christmas worship planning. I was also aware of the importance of not skipping Thanksgiving. I don’t mean the big turkey dinner, I mean the season of giving thanks. This year I have much to be thankful for here at Oak Grove and I wanted to make sure I took the time to be thankful. Yet, at the same time I was looking ahead to Hanging of the Greens, Advent Sundays, Victorian Christmas and Christmas Eve.
Our theme for Sunday School and worship this Advent is “Christmas Gifts that Won’t Break: Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace.” As I began to contemplate each of these gifts in this weird melding of Thanksgiving and Advent, I wondered what would happen if we carry our sense of thanks giving right on through Christmas Day. What if we take time to thank God for these gifts of hope, love, joy, and peace and for the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ?
What if we are careful to take an attitude of gratitude with us into the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparation? Will it change the way we deal with the frustrations that are bound to come? Will it redirect our focus as we consider gift giving and receiving and who really needs our gifts? Will it change the condition of our hearts as we welcome the Christ child? I believe it will.
Many of my friends keep gratitude journals either privately or more openly on facebook or blogs during the month of November. I have decided that I will keep a log of that for which I am grateful as a spiritual discipline this Advent. Perhaps you will join me in this endeavor by leaving comments or starting your own gratitude list.