November 2021: Offer Thanks

Bonnie WohllebenPastor's Blog

Rev. Donny Haywood

In the original Roman calendar, November was the ninth month of the year. It got it’s name from the Latin word “novem” which means nine. But it became the eleventh month when the Romans added January and February. November has often been thought of as a somber month because it signaled the beginning of winter. People would spend the month storing up their harvest and preparing their food and homes to survive the winter.

I don’t know about you, but November isn’t somber to me. And I’ve never thought of it that way. It’s not summer or spring, but November holds promise. We have the changing leaves and the cooler temps. We have a month of intentional Thanksgiving. It serves as a reminder of all the good things in our lives- God’s blessings that might otherwise be overlooked. And November brings the beginning of Advent. The season of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas. November kicks off our four Sundays preceding Christmas. The candles on the Advent wreath symbolize the virtues of hope, love, joy and peace. 
I think the way that we look at November, is a matter of perspective. If we approach it with joy, then the days are obviously going to be better. But if we are negative, they won’t be as fruitful.

Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us that there is a time for everything under the sun. And, these things that are happening are not a surprise to God. We are supposed to make the best of our time. Every minute of every day should be spent in search of how we can better serve, how we can please God. As we offer thanks, how can we better help others in need- those suffering from food insecurity, those who don’t have a place to live, those without money to buy food, those without healthcare? What can we do?

The church was intended to be the place for compassion, safety and sanctuary. We are called to action in Matthew 25:34-40, where we read, “Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” 

How can we offer thanks this November in a way that loves God and loves our neighbor?
How can we make the First Church family to be the relevant church in downtown Decatur…and Wise County?



Pastor Donny