Can you think back to the best Thanksgiving experience of your life? I can actually think of several but the one that stands out happened just a few years ago. As it turns out, we seldom have our primary family Thanksgiving gathering on the actually holiday. Our typical pattern is to celebrate with the traditional feast on the Sunday before or the Sunday after. That way our kids can get to the in-laws and have two Thanksgiving dinners!
It was the Sunday following Thanksgiving. We had been in worship during the morning hours with the turkey planned for later that afternoon. We often have a large group that includes the full family plus anyone they would like to invite. We also typically offer an open invitation to the congregation just in case someone has no place to have a traditional gathering.
This time, a young man took us up on the offer. He heard the invitation during the morning worship service, arrived just in time to eat, then stayed around for dessert and some football. When he left, we all looked at each other to see who John belonged to. Sue and I thought he came as a friend of our son. Our son thought he was a friend of his nephew. No one knew anything but his first name. John contacted us later to tell us thanks and to explain what a blessing it had been to spend the day as a part of the family.
Sometimes the blessings we offer are intentional and well thought out. Other times they unfold on the spur of the moment. Then there are times when blessing is shared and received without anyone really noticing that it happened. Sometimes, that is the best way.
This is the season for blessings. We are about to move into the holiday season with all the beauty and joy we can muster. Whatever you do, don’t let the holiday season wear you out or grind you down. Just remember that the blessing you share with someone else may be the only gift they receive. Let a spirit of Thanksgiving flow through your life so it can be received by someone who needs a lift.
If you can be a blessing all by yourself, just imagine what kind of blessing tsunami we can create as a congregation! We can create networks of grace, we can add blessing to the lives of children, we can provide a place of hope for folks who struggle, we can even extend blessing around the world.
I hope you will be a part of the Creating Blessing effort as we think about mission and ministry that will flow through our lives into the hearts of others in 2016. I believe it will be a wonderful year! It is bound to be good…because when we work together…abundant blessing happens.
God bless you all