It’s hard to imagine that 2022 is already winding down. There are six Sundays left this year. This Sunday we will celebrate Christ the King Sunday which is simultaneously the end of the Christian year and the beginning the beginning of the next. Advent follows the next week and ushers us into a season of preparation and anticipation for the birth of Christ and Jesus’ second coming. And this year we have the privilege of gathering to worship on Christmas day, to celebrate the birth of Jesus as a gathered community. Then we will welcome in the new year in worship on January 1.

Right now, it would be easy to skip ahead to Christmas and the New Year. After all Hobby Lobby has been selling Christmas decorations since June, 98.7 The River is playing Christmas music 24 hours a day, and the Hallmark Countdown to Christmas Movie Marathon has been in full swing since October. You could skip ahead, but you would miss out on the opportunity to pause and give thanks.

Pausing and giving thanks are often overlooked in our culture. We stay so busy that pausing seems impossible. We move so quickly from one thing to the next, that we fail to say thank you to God who has blessed us and helped us make it through this year. Pausing and giving thanks are critical disciplines for us to develop as followers of Jesus. We are called to practice Sabbath to rest and be re-created by Christ, remembering that it is God who sustains us and that we aren’t defined by what we do. We are called to be a thankful people, who recognize the ways that God has blessed us and is calling us to bless the world.

So, before you rush to Christmas, take time to pause. Pause with your family and give thanks. Pause with your friends and give thanks. Pause with your coworkers and give thanks. This intentional pause will help you reflect on God’s goodness, mercy and grace.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Jonathan Smith
For Jesus. For People. For Community.