For most of my life, November was simply the month before December and after October which contained Thanksgiving. If you have lived in America for any time at all, you probably already know about the annual Thanksgiving celebration; food, family, and football. Oh, yea, giving thanks is part of the holiday too.
Even though I knew the day and date of Thanksgiving, it always seemed to sneak up on me! All of a sudden, it was time for Thanksgiving. Then, I felt rushed. We would cook a meal or go to a family member’s house, eat, talk, watch football, and then head home. The next day it was time to look toward Christmas!
Even as I was celebrating Thanksgiving, to be honest, I didn’t feel very thankful. Instead, I felt rushed and stressed. I would try to be thankful, but deep down I wasn’t. I knew I needed to find some way to cultivate thankfulness in my life, but a once a year celebration didn’t do it.
In general, I don’t have much trouble griping and complaining. I find that if I am griping and complaining about everything, it is impossible to be thankful. A poor, ungrateful attitude clouds and colors everything. Even on Thanksgiving, it is possible to eat turkey, pumpkin pie, green bean casserole, and miss the joy of gratitude.
I realized that I needed more than one day to focus on giving Thanks, so I got rid of November and replaced it with Thanksvember, reminding me how much I have to be thankful for and how many ways God has blessed me. Instead of being Thankful one day, what if all of November was used to cultivating gratitude?
Through Thanksvember I’m discovering that the path to joy runs right smack through gratitude.
During this Thanksvember at St. Paul we will celebrate God’s goodness. We will continue to look at the Gospel of John, but within our Bible passages, I will lift up reasons to be thankful. We will also explore how we might respond to the goodness of God through stewardship.
Stewardship is how we respond to God’s goodness. In his goodness, God blesses us with many different gifts. He gives us our time, our talent, and our treasure. Being a good steward means we seek to use our time, talent, and treasure for God’s kingdom and purposes. We respond to God’s gifts by being good stewards of those gifts.
One day in Thanksvember you will be receiving a letter from me and an opportunity to respond to God through giving your treasure. While stewardship embraces our time, talent, and treasure, it is helpful for your community of faith leaders to know your intentions for the next year. I hope you will use this time as an opportunity to pray about your response and your stewardship for 2019.
If you find yourself griping and complaining, maybe celebrating Thanksvember can cultivate a grateful and thankful heart leading to joy!