November 20, 2023

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” -Romans 12:1

The holiday season has arrived. This week is Thanksgiving. In just a few short weeks we will be celebrating Christmas and welcoming in the New Year. There is so much that comes with the holiday season. Our calendars quickly fill up. To properly celebrate these special days, we often take time to prepare. We invite guests to our house. We shop for all the necessary food. We clean our houses and decorate. All this must be done, long before we celebrate.

When I think about preparing for the holidays, I think about my mom. She worked so hard to get ready for each special occasion. It all started with a small yellow notepad. She would write down every possible thing she needed to make the holiday just right. This list contained items needed for meals, gifts, or hosting guests. The weeks and days leading up to the holiday my mom would scratch off items and add items to her list. She would work hours a day to prepare. I am so thankful for the time my mom spent preparing for each holiday. She made them special.

Days like Thanksgiving or Christmas are, in part, made special because we take time to prepare. It is not just about shopping for the right food. Preparing for holy days takes intentional focus. We need to take time and set our minds on the things of God. We must use the practices of the faith to help us prepare our minds to truly embrace these special days. Daily devotionals, prayer, study, worship are just a few things we can do to help prepare ourselves.

How do you prepare yourself to experience the gift of these special days? Take some time today, and in the days to come, to connect with God. Spend time expressing gratitude for the love of God at work in our lives. Read the Psalms that give us the language of praise and thanksgiving. When we take time to prepare ourselves for these special days, we will find that they become all the more meaningful because we opened our hearts and minds to the full meaning of why we celebrate these special occasions.

– Rev. Keith King, Pastor of Worship