A Message for You

‘Tis the season to give 

by REV. LAURIE TENHAVE-CHAPMAN
First Congregational Church, Rockford

Recently I had time to kill between meetings so I went to a small, upscale mall to bide my time. I thought I would be joining throngs of shoppers, bustling around with packages. I was wrong. It appeared that I had missed a PR campaign that unveiled a new purpose for this public space: Geriatric Walking Center! Older couples with varied degrees of mobility looped around me as I tried to get some work done. Every now and then I’m struck with the reality of our depressed economy. As sneaker-clad septuagenarians circled me in this once-vibrant mall, entering nary a store, I was reminded that it’s not business as usual.

When we start to write “November” on our checks, we begin to move mentally toward Thanksgiving. With whom shall we share this special holiday? Who will host? What foods do we wish to have on the table? Are there travel arrangements to be made, a dog to be boarded, table linens to buy? In the past few years, perhaps financial restraint has led us to answer those questions somewhat differently. Much that we used to take for granted now feels like a gift.

There is a tremendous opportunity for us in these financially lean times to embrace all that is good about our lives. Affluence has seldom led to a more grateful people. Hard times call us to greater creativity about how to use our gifts. A resilient resourcefulness, that has perhaps lain dormant, brings us into new places with new people that we wouldn’t have otherwise encountered. We are also discovering that our lives are more than our work. If we are having to “settle” for underemployment, unemployment or less-than-optimal jobs, we need to recognize that the greatest blessings have to do with human relationships. Family, friends, a warm house and grateful hearts gathered around a Thanksgiving table are what matter most.

Whatever your circumstances I invite you to give thanks to God for the bounty in your own life. Look for ways you can be of service to others, even if your own means are limited. Items may be “repurposed”; spaces may be used for different functions. But giving God thanks for each day of life continues to be our life’s purpose.

Join your neighbors at a community Thanksgiving Eve worship service on Wednesday, Nov. 23 at Crossroads Wesleyan Church at 7 p.m. There will be a freewill offering and a canned food collection for the ministry of the North Kent Community Services. Let us thank God together!

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