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Happy Thanksgiving Week Church Family!                                                                            Nov. 22, 2020

You're probably wondering why I have a picture of Mary and Joseph on their journey to Bethlehem for my Thanksgiving focus! I'll tell you the truth, it wasn't my idea, It came from a dear friend who’s also on a rough journey As we were driving in the car on the way to a treatment. We got to talking about Thanksgiving and Christmas and how these holidays would be different than most holidays we've been able to celebrate with our families. I was sharing some ideas out loud about Christmas Eve service and what the message might look like.

My friend was quiet for a few minutes and then started to talk about Mary and Joseph on their journey to Bethlehem. My friend then mentioned how the angel came to Mary and asked her to carry the very Son of God and how Mary said yes without question. The angel never mentioned how hard the journey would be to get there and it was a hard journey, a very hard journey. Mary had to contend with a lot of scrutiny, rejection and even the potential for being stoned to death, not to mention being nine months pregnant riding for 90 miles on the back of a donkey! Are you picturing that with me girls! Never once does Mary say “I said yes to following you God…should it be this hard?

My friend, whom I love, has been on a very rough journey too. Never once has my friend said “I said yes to you God, why should my journey be this hard”. In fact, my friend always has a heart full of thanks and appreciation for time, church family, family and friends.  It is through her heart of thanks that my heart of thanks was renewed and I hope that your will be too.

She posed the question’ can you imagine how hard that journey was pregnant?” Can you imagine being on that long, rough, lonely journey pregnant? Being on the back of a donkey for that long ride?  My friend went on to say… Then she gets to Bethlehem and there is no Inn. The mother of God, with no place to give birth. She ends up giving birth on the floor of a stable or cave made for animals… After that long ride on a donkey… The very mother of God.

Then my friend said “But did Mary complain and say that, why me or really?  This is the journey I get for obeying you God” No, instead, Mary gives birth, in a stable, surrounded by animals… and is grateful. Thankful that God has provided…. Mary was ever so thankful that the Lord was with her and Joseph and that God provided for them throughout their rough journey. Mary was thankful, that her family was safe, thankful that her child was safe and healthy, and that they made it to Bethlehem. Luke 2:19 tells us that: “The shepherds came and praised God for all they had seen… and Mary…treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart”.


So why a Christmas story for Thanksgiving? Because I was reminded that there are many people who are on a far rougher journey than I am. I was reminded, by a friend, who is on the roughest journey of her life that we still have so much to be thankful for…and she showed me that through the Christmas story of Mary and Joseph. (I told her she should write this years Christmas message, but she didn’t bite.)

Friends, we have so much to be thankful for. I know that this is a rough journey and it feels like such a long bumpy ride. But we are okay. We have warm homes to go to, families that are safe, food on our tables and the means to help others have food on theirs. This too shall pass and we will once again enjoy the company of friends and family for in person holiday gatherings. We can find creative ways to be close and make the holidays special; with renewed hearts of thankfulness because we no longer take moments for granted.

The biblical account of Mary's journey shows us that we have much to be thankful for. My heart overflows with thanks because it was my friend, whom I love, truly opened my eyes once again to the blessings on my journey by including me in hers.

Scripture reminds us to be thankful and to keep our eyes opened to the many blessing we share.
“ Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8

My hope is each one of us finds new and creative ways to show our love and hearts of Thanksgiving to our friends and to our families. My prayer for each one of you, each one of us, is that like Mary and Joseph, and like my friend, we too will draw close to our Lord, trust him ALWAYS for the journey and “treasure ALL moments and ponder them in our hearts”

God bless you and God bless each of your families!
Pastor Nettie

Thank you to all who continue to support the vision and mission of the church! Thank you to all who send cards, check in, and care for your neighbors. Thank you to all who daily show kindness and love to the world around us. You are Jesus to the world around you!

Tuesday, November 24 at 5:00pm in the Sanctuary

All ad council members are encouraged to participate for the in person meeting a Zoom Option will be available. Church members may participate via Zoom. Call the office for the Zoom ID number.

 

 

 

Due to the recent rise in COVID cases, November 22 (This Sunday) will be our last in-person worship. After that, we will resume with online worship only. You will find our service on Facebook, YouTube, and the Fredonia Channel.

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