Last night on the Casper news I saw the joy of those receiving complete Thanksgiving meals. The line numbered in the hundreds. The hundreds represented many more family members, all needing that something special to fill their tummies on our national day of giving thanks.
Casper is not alone, Sheridan also reaches out to assist those in need at this time of year (even though we won’t be seen on the evening news).
We who have been blessed share with those who are in need of blessing. Thanksgiving.
Sometimes we forget the preparation that lies behind these moments of shared blessings. First Presbyterian is one of about eight congregations that participate in the Lunch Together program. This mission operates year-round in the basement of the Congregational Church.
Every seven weeks or so, we put together meals and serve lunch to 30 or 40 folks within our community who are hungry for physical and relational nourishment. These meals, like the outreach in Casper, take time to sign up those who will help, organize the menus, purchase, prepare and serve the food. Preparation.
Preparation is part and parcel to our season of Thanksgiving. We received a text message from the significant other of one of our sons. She wanted to make a special Thanksgiving dinner and surprise him with one of his childhood favorites. What did he like? Do you have the recipe? Help?
I don’t know how it turned out, but it reminded me of the preparation that often lies behind the special events in our lives. Preparation.
For many of us in the United States, Thanksgiving is also the launching day for the Christmas Season. Our Christmas Stroll reveals the preparation local merchants have completed as they work to entice us to buy their goods to share with those we love.
The town is beautiful and festive and we are reminded that being a community is not about us, it is about the town we share with one another. Thank you owners and Chamber of Commerce leaders for the work you have done to make Sheridan a special place to live. Preparation.
Within the life of the church, we too are in a season of preparation. Advent (arrival) is the special word we use to define this season. And what do we do? In the midst of all our Christmas shopping and cooking and decorating, we make sure there is room in our lives for the Christ-child. We remember that in a nation where every baby could become king (so to speak), Jesus, who was the King, became a baby.
We are reminded that this King is also called the Prince of Peace in a world that knew all too well (as we today know) the pain of violence and hatred. We need to allow that baby to be the director of our lives.
So, in the midst of your preparations this season, I challenge you to make room for Jesus. After all, he is the reason for the season.
Paul Hayden is the interim pastor at First Presbyterian Church.