Sweet November evokes memories of baptism and reasons to be thankful
In 1945 I was baptized on the last Sunday night of October. The next month seemed to be a continuous celebration as I went to bed each night feeling so clean and so close to God.
I realize now that I had such a limited idea of what I had done, but I sensed that I really was free of guilt and was a child of God. Even now after all these years, I relish November for the sweetness of the new relationship.
I still love November because the heat is over and the cold has not come. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is the holiday with the least stress: No trees to put up and decorate. No presents to buy (only to begin thinking about them). No cards to address. Yet.
We usually don’t have all our family together, but those who are local are all together. We have our daughter and her family, our son and his family and the other grandparents of my son’s children. It is a movable feast. Whichever family is least loaded in the fall hosts.
Although being with family for Thanksgiving is the central event, I believe that the spirit of being thankful deserves special consideration. Life is so busy that I have a very difficult time acknowledging to God my appreciation for all he does for me every moment.
How would our attitudes change if we really did count our many blessings, naming them one by one? Surely we would be humbled by the realization that we have done so little for ourselves. That dose of humility would help us adore God more fervently.
A serious reckoning of how much God has done for us would definitely alter our petitions to God. We might spend all our time in prayer thanking God for his great blessings, and growing from that count will open our hearts to praise God more fully.
This year has been marked by the deaths of many people who truly are precious to me. Thankfully, all eight of them were baptized believers.
The loss for families and friends has been great, but greater comfort comes from the expectation that these dear people have been born into eternal life.
I keep discovering at funerals that the deceased had wonderful traits and did amazing things I was completely oblivious to. Recognizing that, I am trying to make a point of knowing more fully all the brothers and sisters that are in my life. If I am at their funerals, I do not want to learn that I missed the opportunity to celebrate with them the important things they are doing. I want to give thanks for them now.
One of the most satisfying blessings of life comes through family. I am blessed by children with good hearts, and they have married very special people.
My adult grandchildren are people who want to serve others, and they have married people of that same mindset. My five grandchildren 20 and younger are lively and fun. I constantly celebrate a family that is maturing and growing.
For 47 years Joyce and I have been part of the same church family. It has had many newcomers and many who have moved away. We work under elders who are godly and spiritual men. They love the church, and they seek to support and encourage the membership to be transformed into mature Christians who are reflecting God’s love and grace to the community and the world.
Most of the members are middle-class and have modest incomes. Still, the church gave three-quarters of a million dollars in July for mission work (this special contribution for missions does not include the budgeted items for missions).
The church supports Helpers in Missions workers for two years. These workers raise about half of their support, and the congregation provides the other half. The church also has a two-year internship for young adults who want to learn and do ministry. These interns are serving in many places to promote the Kingdom. Our church family blesses us daily.
God is constantly watching and working to strengthen his Kingdom. Each should look thoughtfully to see what God is doing.
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