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Grateful Thankful Blessed (Photo by Ann on Unsplash)

Being Thankful and Being Grateful

Dr Chris Kurien
Rev. Dr. Chris Kurien
Dear Friends,

We hope you’re enjoying this colorful season. The leaves will be falling off soon and, before we know it, winter will be here.

On November 6, All Saints’ Day we’ll remembering the saints who have gone before us. May the memories of those saints continue to be a blessing in our lives!

In a few weeks, we’ll gather family and friends together in our homes for Thanksgiving. Someone once asked me why we set aside one day out of 365 for giving thanks. “It’s not that we’re not thankful on the other 364 days,” they said. Of course, we’re thankful for God’s goodness everyday. Perhaps the challenge for us is to move from being thankful to being grateful… to move into a deeper experience that calls for an attitude of gratitude, a way of living?

This year the season of Advent begins on Sunday, November 27. It’s a time for preparation for the coming of our Lord. The word Advent derives from a Latin word meaning to come. While we celebrate the Lord’s coming in the form of the Christ child, we look forward to His final coming in glory. John the Baptist exhorts us to Repent. Some might think that these exhortations would seem more fitting for the Lenten season, when it’s more okay to feel somber and remorseful. Repentance could happen anytime in our lives.

Advent is also a time to celebrate God who brings change in our lives. It ushers in a new church year, is a time for new beginnings and for hope in the future.

Advent is also a joyful season. Occurring in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s a time for anticipating something amazing — and, according to  song, It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

The familiar stories of the Christmas season will present to us: Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the travelers from the East. And, with the birth of a little baby boy, the world changed forever. In those days, people lived in the midst of uncertainties. In many ways, uncertainties and challenges today are no different from what Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zechariah, and the shepherds experienced. Society was in a state of upheaval due to a foreign military occupation. Life was hard and uncertain. It’s understandable that people would question, Where is God in all of this?

In the context of the ongoing war in Ukraine, all the partisan fights, and the many other problems faced by people today, we might ask similar questions. However, like the first parents in the Christmas story who said ‘yes’ to the divine calling, may we find the strength and courage to say ‘yes‘ as we continue our journeys faithfully.

Friends, may you be safe and may you be the loving community we are called to be during the Holy season! I wish you all, in advance, a wonderful Thanksgiving and blessed Advent and Christmas seasons!

In Christ’s Love

Pastor Christopher Kurien

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