Some years ago, a popular American soda manufacturer launched a highly successful ad campaign they called, “The Pause that Refreshes.” It caught on like wildfire, in large measure because of how at the time most Americans were weary from trying to keep up in the fast lane of life and longed for something that could offer them an off ramp.
It’s been a long time since that campaign was in its heyday, but I think the sentiment is still with us. We all need times when we can step away from the busyness of life and catch our breath.
In many respects that’s exactly what the Thanksgiving season is designed to do. A distinctly American holiday, the fourth Thursday of November was designated as such in 1864, during the height of the Civil War, by President Abraham Lincoln. President Lincoln recognized the massive pressures the nation was under at the time and thought a national holiday appropriate to lift its gaze to the heavens to “our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” Since that time Americans have set aside this day on the calendar to reflect on how in spite of our weariness, we can find strength and comfort in the knowledge that there is One Above who has the whole world in His hands, even the little ones in which we live.
Here at MBBC, we have had our own long-standing tradition of setting aside the Sunday before Thanksgiving as a time for our congregation to come together in gratitude for God’s goodness. It’s our opportunity to acknowledge that our church’s sense of mission to be a people who “Love God and Live with Grace and Generosity” is grounded in our conviction that we worship and serve a God who loves and lives toward us in the same ways.
Our MBBC “holiday” tradition involves a special schedule of Sunday Morning Bible Study at 9am and a combined worship at 10am. Then we’ll go down to the CLC for a Thanksgiving meal and a time of fellowship.
I think this tradition is one of the best ones we have in our church. Not only does it bring our church together physically, it also draws us closer to one another and to God in spirit. It strengthens our love for God and our gracious and generous feelings for one another, and every year those ties just seem to get a bit stronger. For that I am exceedingly thankful.
So, I trust you’ll be able to join us this Sunday. Your presence is vital. Our church will be better for it and so will your soul. You might even find it to be a “pause that refreshes,” one for which you will be thankful too.
“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations” (Psalm 100:4-5).