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From The Pastor's Desk Nov 22

From the Pastor’s Desk

November 2022

“Let us then pursue what makes

for peace and for

mutual upbuilding…”

-Romans 14:19

On November 23rd at 7:30 our members and siblings in Christ from other congregations in our area will gather at Bethlehem for a Thanksgiving Eve service. I want to invite you formally and cordially to this event. If you cannot be there in-person, worry not… thanks to our faithful volunteers, this service will be livestreamed as well.

And please know, I invite you to this wonderful evening for good reason, it may just set the tone for the days and weeks to come. Picture it now, it’s Wednesday, the week is half over. Tomorrow, Thursday is Thanksgiving. Do you have the pies baked? Will you be travelling? Are you preparing the house for guests? Maybe you’ll be enjoying a quiet day at home?

Whatever the case may be, tomorrow is coming, and it marks the inauguration of what many have called the “holiday season.” Yes, the “holidays” a word that was formed when we got a little lackadaisical and no longer had energy to say, “holy days.” But these are holy days, days that are sacred and set apart. Are we ready to appreciate this time; to be fed and nourished in mind, body, and spirit?

Our Thanksgiving Eve service will provide an opportunity to “prepare your hearts and minds,” as we like to say here at Bethlehem. Yes, by the time you make your way over the river and through the woods to Bethlehem Lutheran, the gentle autumn light will have faded. But a warm inviting glow will emanate from the stained-glass windows of our sanctuary. As you make your way through the doors you will be greeted with a smile and a welcome, and you will be enveloped by the comforting clamor of congenial conversation. You find your pew, hear the first notes tumble joyfully from the pipes and look around to see familiar and not so familiar faces.

What a blessing to behold all those who have gathered, this is a time for our congregation, and the whole community to offer praise and thanksgiving. What a privilege to welcome the visitor (see Hebrews 13:2). In these very moments, I am convinced we will be glimpsing the kingdom. We will pray together, sing together, lend our support to worthwhile causes together, and we’ll finish the evening by sharing in fellowship together. I can hardly wait for the freshly baked goodies!

And then, after the last couple of chairs have been folded and a stray table or two has been stowed, we’ll say one more heartfelt “good-bye” or “Happy Thanksgiving” and make our way home. The air will likely be cool, some lingering leaves will scurry from beneath the car, and we will realize that we have been the beneficiaries of a bountiful harvest. God is good, and we have known God’s goodness once again, and we are ready… ready to enjoy a day of Thanksgiving. And having savored all the finer things in life, we’ll be ready to receive the One who is the source of it all.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Dan

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