Giving Thanks

It is Halloween as I write this column.  I have a love/hate relationship with Halloween. I have always enjoyed my children and grandchildren as they have worked diligently to creature elaborate costumes.  With my own children, I remember that my small son always wanted to be a fireman, and one of my daughters saying, “Why would anyone want to have a scary costume when they could be a princess!”  This year my grandchildren are superheroes and astronauts.  The thing I don’t like about Halloween are the scary costumes complete with lots of blood and gore.  I don’t like the focus on death and evil.  Some of the houses in our neighborhood have gone to the extreme to create gruesome settings.  I’ll be glad when these are taken down.

But tomorrow is a special day, too.  It is All Saints day.  It is a time to remember the saints of God – those who have gone before us and those who still walk among us.  We remember those who have brought us up in the faith.  I think of Pastor Jon’s grandmother who died when he was five but insisted that he learned the Lord’s Prayer and the 23rd Psalm before she died.  She was passing her faith on to him.  What a precious gift far above any money or possessions that she might have given him.

We also remember others in our lives who have guided us along in our faith journey, Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, and Christian friends. They have stood by us and prayed for us.  They have walked with us and shared our burdens.  Some have believed for us when we did not have faith enough to believe for ourselves.  It is these saints we remember with joy and thanksgiving.  We give thanks for those who continue to walk among us and for those who have gone on before us.

As we give thanks for the saints in our lives, may we think about how God might use us to bless the lives and faith journeys of others.  May we provide love and care for those whom God loves and who are our brothers and sisters.

The whole month of November is a time of year when we focus on our blessings and give thanks. Several communities in Massachusetts lost power in the storm we had over the weekend. Relatives scrambled to find someone with refrigerator and freezer space to rescue their food.  How blessed we are to have food in abundance.  Our missionary friends in Africa have told us how the people there hustle day to day to have food for that one day.  I once asked what happens when they are sick and aren’t able to work on any given day.  She said quite simply that they just don’t eat that day.  Surely they understand better than we do the part of the Lord’s Prayer that says, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

So whether we are giving thanks for spiritual food or physical food, we acknowledge the source of both and give praises to our generous and loving God.

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