Thanks for everything
By Rev. Robert Rupprecht, St. John Lutheran Church of Hollywood
“Thanks for everything.” This is an expression that is frequently heard in response to kindnesses that have been extended to you, by another, as they have given of themselves to you in some gracious way.
At this holiday time, it is good for us to reflect upon all we have been granted from our gracious God over this past year.
I find it very fitting that Thanksgiving appears on the day that it does. For those who may not be aware, the month of November is the ceremonial end of the Christian church year. The messages presented in most Christian churches at this time draw our attention to the end times, the end of the world; those times referring to Christ’s second coming.
The Sunday before Thanksgiving is the last Sunday of the church year, and Thanksgiving becomes the last service before the first Sunday of Advent, which is the beginning of a new year for the church.
Abraham Lincoln could not have found a more fitting Thursday, the fourth Thursday of November, as the national day of Thanksgiving. This becomes a time of reflection for all Christians upon the year that the Lord has given us.
For us at St. John Lutheran of Hollywood, this has been a magnificent year. We bring to a close the celebration of the 140th anniversary of our congregation. There have been 140 years of God’s grace and blessings upon the members of our congregation, and for this, we are very thankful.
As individuals, we also are to reflect upon the activities of our year. Has the Lord been good to you? Has the Lord been good to the farmers this year for a very good crop? Have you experienced countless blessings for this past year? Have you been prosperous in your work or in your business?
Perhaps not everything that you have experienced this year has been as wonderful as you may have wanted. The times for the Pilgrims were not all perfect either, but they thanked God for what they had. For example, half of their loved ones died the first winter in the new world.
May I direct your attention to the words of St. Paul as he writes in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
That can be a hard thing to do; to give thanks to God for everything that we have received, even though some things may bring with them sorrow and sadness. There are some among us who have lost loved ones this year. We may not understand God’s will or His ways in all these things.
The sadness and sorrow of this world is due to sin, not due to the will of God. That is where we need to trust God that He knows of our hurting. By turning over our hurt into His hands, He will give the strength, the peace, and the comfort to lift us toward His love.
Pray that the sorrows may be turned to His joy. In everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
God, again, has been good to us this year; God has truly blessed us richly, leading us to say, “Thanks for everything.”