Soon and very soon, we are going to see the turkey! I can't wait for Thanksgiving Day to arrive. There will be family sitting around the table, enjoying one each other, celebrating the life they have together and eating the wondrous Thanksgiving meal - turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, rolls, veggies (lots of different types), cranberry sauce and (wait for it) PIE! Of course there will be pie. Pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Blackberry pie. And the ever present cheesecake (made from Aunt Emily's recipe of course). It doesn't get much better than that.
There is one thing missing - spending time with the family in worship. Getting together with them, gathering around God's Word, receiving the Sacrament and celebrating the life that God has given to us. I long to spend time with family in worship.
That is one thing that I would encourage you to do this year (even if you haven't in the years gone by). Start a new tradition. Invite your family to join you in attending worship so that you have the opportunity to give thanks to God for His love shown in sending His only-begotten Son to be the Savior, to suffer and die upon the cross for your sins and the sins of all people. To thank Him for the blessings of family that you love - family that might drive you crazy at times but they are still a blessing to you and are a gift to you from the Almighty. To thank Him for the place you live in, the country you are blessed with, the leaders who are over us, the friends you are surrounded by and the job that you have.
Pray His blessing and guidance for those who don't have work, whose homes have been wrecked or destroyed by recent disasters. Pray for strength for those who lives have been destroyed by abuse, drugs and other addiction. Pray that He would show His presence to the lonely, the sick, and the suffering. Pray for those you know who need to know of His mighty presence and then pray for those you don't know that need His mighty presence as well.
And pray for the message of the Gospel to be proclaimed to all people. Without the wondrous Gospel, the word that tells us that Jesus is the one and only Savior and that there is no way to enter into eternal life except by faith in Him, there is no hope. So pray that the Gospel will be proclaimed clearly and faithfully. Pray that the Holy Spirit will use you to share the message of life and hope. And then do it. Share it. Live it. Proclaim it. Make that powerful message of salvation the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving celebration.
Go now. Purchase your turkey. Get it thawing. Prepare all the dishes. And give thanks!