The month of November brings with it many exciting things, including a year’s end harvest for farmers, deer hunting season, and most notably, the national holiday of Thanksgiving. Even though the holiday’s roots surrounded the religious freedom of the Pilgrims of our nation, Thanksgiving today is not associated with a specific religious observance. However, you and I know we have many things (good and bad) for which we can thank God.
Although not a holiday directly associated with the Church, we can faithfully observe the goodness that Thanksgiving first represented and give thanks to God, who has provided all that we have out of his divine goodness and mercy. In fact, one of the words for Holy Communion is the “Eucharist,” which means “thanksgiving.” It is in the Eucharist that we hear these words: Hoc est corpus meum: “This is my body.” You may be surprised that this Latin phrase, used in the ancient Roman Catholic church, is the origin of the phrase “Hocus Pocus”—which is what peasants heard when they couldn’t understand Latin, and which is what peasants thought was magically happening when bread and wine were consecrated.
As we see trees lose their leaves and plants go into dormancy, take some time to see all that you have gained in this past year, and what you will gain this year ahead (and no, I’m not talking about gaining weight!). Give thanks that Christ has entered into our decaying world and is our source of daily renewal. It is this renewal - which we enjoy in baptism - that we can all look forward to when Christ returns not only in spirit, but body, to restore our world and restore our bodies to eternal life. Therefore, in this month of November, we can join those who have faithfully departed this world to be with Christ, those saints whom we remember on “All Saints Day” (Nov. 1). We can join them in our plea, “Come, Lord Jesus.” It is this plea that we will hear echoing in our lives and in the season of Advent.
Thankful for you,
Pastor Aaron Boerst
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1: 3-6