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Hello Friends! Happy Thanksgiving!

Now we’ve reached the time of year that we pause and give thanks, at least for a meal a day or a long weekend. It is right that we take time to do that: Philippians 4:6 says “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. “It is the thanksgiving part I want to focus on here. We ask God for things year ‘round, but we often forget to give thanks for what God has already given us. This month, let us do just that.

I am thankful for the incredible hard work of the Profile Committee. I’m thankful for the work of Mark Boggs, Property Committee and many others to replace part of the sidewalk at the Sunday School entrance. I am grateful that the tilted sidewalk at the kitchen entrance has been repaired. I’m grateful for the many children who come to worship, come up for children’s sermons, and attend Sunday School. I’m grateful our roof is being repaired this fall. I’m grateful our stewardship campaign went well (see stewardship report), our confirmation October 27 went well, and between Trinity and Zion, we have record numbers of kids attending our NE MN Synod Middle School Youth Gather this month at Cragun’s.

Gratitude, or a grateful attitude, is sorely lacking in our culture compared to decades back. Too often it seems, people have more and want even more, yet appreciate it far less. That’s sad, because everyone has reason to be grateful for something in their lives. For many of us, that gratitude can take the form of appreciation and wonder at our modern technology. Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the famous “Little House” books wrote in 1915 that “Aladdin with his wonderful lamp does not have more magic than the modern woman does in her kitchen.” Laura was talking a century ago about the miracle of gas stoves to cook on and telephones to order groceries from places which delivered to her door. Imagine what Laura would think of our 2017 kitchen a century later, with microwaves and convection ovens! Consider refrigerators with ice and water in the door and via the internet, on the verge of refilling themselves! We also have literally millions of recipes at our fingertips via smartphones!

Yet with all that technology, and modern blessings of convenience and connection, we still have to appreciate these gifts of millions of hours of engineering. If the miracles of life: videophones and computers, a fine summer day, beautiful sunset, stunning fall leaf display or a delicate spring flower ever become “ordinary,” then we’re in trouble spiritually. God made a wonderful world. God didn’t make us to be bored and cynical people.

Here’s a challenge: at the end of the day, every day in November, write down 5 things you’re grateful for. Do it even if it’s the same 5 things every day. In this way, you can focus on what you DO have, rather than on what you DON’T have. In truth, we American Christians are better off financially and with possessions than 90% of the people alive today, and 99% of the people who have ever lived. We have so much to be thankful for. We can be thankful for those who built this nation, keep it safe, and try to make it even better. We can be grateful for family, friends, and communities. We can be grateful for modern healthcare. We can be grateful for fellow Christians, and especially for the grace of God, and the love and sacrifice of Christ we Christians share. If you take up my challenge, and are grateful each day, you will find yourself both happier and healthier in December than you were in October.

Blessings, Pastor Glen

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