In November we look back and remember, and we look forward with hope. We look back and remember the year that is slowly moving towards its close, and we look forward with hope to the new year that is creeping ever closer.
In the church, we do the same thing. On All Saints Sunday, we look back and remember those whom we love who are now on their way, those who are now celebrating the heavenly feast. Our remembering is filled with hope, because we believe in the promise of God that there will yet come that great and glorious day when we shall all be gathered together in the eternal heavenly feast.
Speaking of feasts, Thanksgiving Day is also a day to look back and remember, as we pause in the midst of that great holiday feast to give thanks. We give thanks for that which we have already received. We give thanks as we remember the blessings we have received, the love we have shared, the friendships that have warmed us and sustained us. We give thanks for all that we have, all that we are. We remember, and in remembering, we open our hearts in grateful thanks to the God has blessed us in countless ways both great and small.
And then, as the month draws to a close, we enter that quiet season of hope, Advent. We look forward, to a new year, yes, but also to that new future that God is preparing for us even now. We look forward to the celebrating of the birth of Jesus, the Incarnation where the Almighty God, the Creator of all that is, was, and will ever be, stoops down in the deep humility of unfathomable love, to become human.
Advent prepares us to once again ponder the mystery of God now taking on our flesh, taking on our human life, full of frailties and hardships, full of joys and celebrations. We prepare, in hopeful anticipation, for the wondrous day when we rejoice with all people of every time and every place, the good news that in Jesus, God is now truly one with us. In the Holy Child, who becomes the Holy Man, who is the Holy Savior, God is now with us in the deepest possible way, as one of us.
This fills us with hope, abiding hope, that comforts us, empowers us, fills us with peace, and allows us to see in the future the continuing, always abiding presence of God.
Our looking forward is a looking toward what God is yet going to do, with us and for us, through us and within us. The future we prepare for, the future we await, the future that Advent calls us to wait patiently for, is God’s future, within which we have so great a role. This is God’s future, where new blessings await, where new hope is present, where new joy is possible. God’s future, filled with divine love, divine healing, and divine mercy.
In November, I hope you will make a habit of worshiping this God who has blessed us before, is blessing us now, and will bless us forever.
Please remember to begin your Thanksgiving celebrations on Wednesday November 22, at 7PM, as we join with our friends at Peace in Zion UCC for our annual Thanksgiving Eve worship service.
As always, I look forward to seeing you in church!