Season of Gratitude

November 2, 2018 by Gregg DeMey

November is a month marked by many things: daylight savings time, college football, pumpkin spice, no-shave experiments and - of course - the Thanksgiving holiday. At Elmhurst CRC we want to lean into the practice of giving thanks to God this November. We are taking Thanksgiving a step further this year and observing the whole month of November as a “Season of Gratitude” in our worship life. This idea grew out of the good work of ECRC’s Ten Talent Team, which recognizes that gratitude is the best fuel for a warm spiritual life.

On Sunday, our Children’s Ministry Leader Kara Hackert will be introducing a thanksgiving exercise that all of us can participate in. The exercise centers around a small grove of “Gratitude Trees” that have been placed in the center of our lobby. Full disclosure: Gratitude trees look A LOT like Christmas trees, okay? This is on purpose. : )

Here’s what Kara is going to tell our kids:
We have a lot to be thankful for don’t we? We can be so thankful for our relationship with God, our family, and our friends – that we love them and they love us. We can also be thankful that we have the privilege of helping others and that we are able to show kindness to others.

We are going to talk about being thankful all month at church and you are going to hear a word that might be new to you: “Gratitude.” The definition of gratitude takes thankfulness one extra step. Gratitude is being thankful and then returning the kindness.

So, for the next couple of weeks we are going to have an opportunity to show our thankfulness, our gratitude, with the trees in the lobby. We are going to give you all a pinecone. There are sharpies on the table in the lobby. After worship you can write what you are thankful for on the pinecone and then hang it on the trees.

There are also ornaments already hanging on the trees. If you and your adult would like, you can take one of them and buy what is on the ornament as a Christmas gift for someone in need.

The pinecones and trees are not just for the children! Adults, we would love for you to hang a pinecone with what you are thankful for as well. There will be a basket of pinecones on the table near the trees. And if you would like you can show your gratitude by buying a gift for someone in need. There are a variety of gifts on the tree starting from $2. We hope that you can find a gift on the tree that is meaningful to you.

We’ll have the opportunity to support three great causes:

  • World Renew, a ministry of mercy and justice homegrown from within our denomination
  • Angola State Penitentiary
  • Lampstand Ministries under the leadership of Chris Langkamp in the Lawndale neighborhood

I’m proud to be part of a congregation that is so very generous. We recently raised more than $15K for relief efforts after Hurricane Florence. I’m looking forward to the great good that will flow from this “Gratitude Trees” exercise and hope to be able to share some of the expressions of thanks written on pinecones on Thanksgiving day at our 10:00 worship service.

Grace and Peace to you,
Pastor Gregg

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