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The Preacher's Post: From Thanksgiving to Christmas and BeyondDo you ever feel like we’ve got it all backwards? No, I’m not grumbling about Christmas music and decorations before Halloween (although I feel like I should be!). I’m actually thinking about how we celebrate Thanksgiving right before we dive into Advent – a season of expectation and preparation for the coming of the Christ. If we’re following the logic of being thankful for the gift of Emmanuel – “God With Us” – wouldn’t it make more sense to show our gratitude after we commemorate the coming of our Christ? I know I’m being a wee bit literal here, because it’s not like Jesus will actually be born this Christmas – we’re celebrating the fact that he has already come and made God’s presence known in the world – but on one hand, wouldn’t Thanksgiving in January make a lot sense?
Of course, there’s always the other hand. What if the Advent season is about something more than just preparing for the coming of Christ? What if it’s also about preparing us to be the coming of Christ, to be God’s presence for someone truly in need?
Consider how we might think of Advent differently if it came to be about preparing ourselves to give as much as to receive. We’re already engaging in the generous part – reaching out to our homeless neighbors with our collection for the Longest Night Vigil and collecting items for the Foodline and Backpack Brigade. But if Advent becomes a season of celebrating God’s generosity by matching it with our own, suddenly that Thanksgiving celebration seems to be in exactly the right place! How can we grow in our sharing if we’re not first thankful for all that God has shared with us?
I hope you’ll be able to gather with us as a community over the next few weeks as we prepare for the coming of Christ by preparing to be the coming of Christ for all those who need us. It’s always an exciting time to be a follower of Jesus, but I’m especially excited for where God might lead us in the year ahead. So, I’ll see you around, right?
Yours in Thanksgiving,
PS – While I’m on the subject of gratitude, let me take a moment to say thank you for the many birthday cards and greetings, and on behalf of my retired ministry colleagues, thank you for
remembering us in October for clergy appreciation month. You have been a tremendous blessing to me!
Christian Church of Bremerton is a diverse group of people seeking to
respond to the vision of God's purpose revealed through Jesus the
We believe this vision calls us to be an intentional community, which engages persons in Christian practices. These practices include the Lord's Supper, joyful worship, Bible Study, prayer, service, and inclusive hospitality. We anticipate being open to all people, discerning how we can respond to needs within and beyond our congregation. As a community we will listen to and bear one another's burdens, and work on behalf of justice for all God's people.
To embrace and manifest Christ-like relationships in our community, we desire to communicate Jesus' death on the cross and bear witness to His resurrection as a sign of hope in this world. We seek to realize this hope by finding ways to overcome the forces that degrade, enslave and oppress God's creation.
In this vision we seek to know, to discern, and to act on the Holy Spirit's guidance to become an expression of God's new creation through our personal gifts and resources. In our actions we strive "to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with [our] God." (Micah 6:8c)