Ponderings for November 14 2019

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good… (Psalm 136:1)
These words remind me that the object of my thanks is not my circumstances or my stuff—it is the character of God. That seems to imply that the nature of thanksgiving is trust (in a good God despite my sometimes-crummy circumstances), driven not by my senses (my eyes and ears may experience a lot of noise and pain) but by faith. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. For most of us, listing all the “things” we have to be grateful for would be a good exercise. And for all of us, remembering all of the good character qualities of God (start with a reading of Psalm 119) will help us focus on the permanent reasons to be thankful this year.
And speaking of Thanksgiving, Christmas is only seven weeks away!! Wow. Along with the personal activities and reflections (don’t forget to take time to reflect), Trinity has a number of things to take note of. How great it is to be a part of a church that desires to bless its community by giving away Christmas trees—for free! To help make our friends’ Christmas a bit more special, we will be giving away lights and ornaments alongside those trees on December 6 and 7. The next couple of Sundays, we will be collecting those items in the Gathering Space. Thanks in advance for your generosity! On December 8, our services will swell with relatives and friends here to see the kids lead us in our annual Play in a Day performances. Thanks for welcoming all of our guests on that day. And on Christmas Eve, we will be offering three beautiful Christmas concerts at 3:00pm, 4:30pm, and 6:30pm. Please invite your co-workers and neighbors and friends. A fun and meaningful time will be had by all. Finally, and coming a bit sooner, on Sunday, November 24, be on the lookout for our Advent suggestions and ideas. We will be providing opportunities and possibilities for all of us to practice acts of kindness and read words of thoughtfulness throughout the month of December.
We started the fall with prayer (remember Pray WITH Trinity?). Now, more than ever, we need to pray the headlines—for peace in Hong Kong and Israel; for the political climate and vast polarization in our day; not to mention for the ugly way everything gets politicized in this country (from California fires to pro sports to the weather). May the Lord use the words and especially the deeds of Christ-followers to bring about a modicum of peace as we head into the holidays. Every Sunday morning there is prayer going on in my office during the 9:30am service; won’t you come and join in?
And speaking of prayer, I leave us with this very meaningful one:
God, I want your guidance and direction in all I do. Let your wisdom counsel me, your hand lead me, and your arm support me. I put myself into your hands. Breathe into my soul holy and heavenly desires. Conform me to your own image. Make me like my Savior. Enable me in some measure to live here on earth as he lived, and to act in all things as he would have acted. Ashton Oxeden (1808–1892)
I’ll see you on the other side.
Pastor Paul