I woke up this morning thinking the day was Wednesday. What was peculiar about the thought is that I knew it was Thanksgiving – I just was not putting the two thoughts together! It was a few minutes after 7:30 when I finally connected the dots. And then it took a few minutes more to figure out that I needed to write a Thursday’s Thirst this morning. This may sound like an excuse for its late arrival (which, I guess, it is), but it’s more intended as a little “thanks be to God” for waking me up and giving me this day.
Two short stories of God at work I observed this week.
It was Tuesday night, shortly after 9:00 when I received the phone call. It was a call I knew I would receive some day, I just expected it to be in 2020. A lifelong member of our congregation had been called home. He was 80 years old and in hospice care, but everyone, even the family, was taken by surprise that evening. They asked me to meet them at his bedside. There we would wait together for the funeral home to come for the body. I arrived around 10:00 p.m.
What I observed over the next hour was a beautiful display of what God’s Word, at work in a family throughout their lifetime, accomplishes. Yes, there were tears and sadness. But there was also a total sense of peace. Stories were told. Laughter was present. And the predominant mood was one of hope … that sure and certain hope that only Christ can give.
Today I am thankful for the 25 years I knew this 80-yearold friend. I am also thankful for the gifts that God is giving to his family that is temporarily left behind. Anger and hostility were totally absent in that room. Everyone was supporting and encouraging the others. I know there will be sadness and struggles, but I also know that Christ will carry them forward with everything they need. “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15.57)
Last weekend our congregation handed out Thanksgiving dinners to 80 families (our clothing closet gave free clothing to over 50 families at the same time). They all received four bags of groceries, a pre-cooked turkey breast, bacon, eggs, and fresh fruit and vegetables. We felt bad about turning 10 families away when supplies ran out (but we are working on a remedy). My job was to greet people, pray with those who are interested, and distribute an Advent Devotion booklet to each household (you can see, I get the easy part of the endeavor).
On Tuesday morning I received the following email: “My name is C.H. I was one of many in line to be blessed with a holiday food basket for Thanksgiving from St. Thomas Lutheran Church on 11/23/2019. It was my first time at St. Thomas Lutheran. I had the opportunity of meeting you as you were issuing out the Devotions. The Lord has kept you on my heart ever since. You really brightened my day on Saturday. You gave me a hug so tight and so welcoming for me, it really made my day. The past few weeks had been very challenging for me. I had a health scare, I had been busy helping my daughter and my granddaughter and trying to stay on top my classes. I was feeling overwhelmed. When you gave me that hug, I felt the presence of the Lord so strong it brought tears to my eyes. It was like I felt a load lifted off me. I really want to thank you and let you know I appreciated that. I thank everyone at St. Thomas for your help and I am truly grateful. I will keep you and your family and the St. Thomas Lutheran family in my prayers.”
My Tuesday morning started with tears of joy as I read that email … and ended with tears of sadness … but the theme of the day never changed: “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Happy Thanksgiving my friends … I encourage you to spend some time today talking about Christ’s work in your life … and my recommended reading for the day is Psalm 67.