Farmville Enterprise 11/30/16
The community worship service the Sunday evening before Thanksgiving sure set the tone for a holiday celebrating gratitude. The choir, directors and accompanists from several local churches took the time to learn three selections and practice what would be tremendously inspiring music. One hymn they sang was a beautiful arrangement of lyrics by a Lutheran minister named Martin Rinkart. “Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices, who wondrous things has done, in whom this world rejoices; who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today. O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us, with ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us; and keep us still in grace, and guide us when perplexed; and free us from all ills, in this world and the next.” These words, sung in such a glorious way, describe the joy and peace that come from recognizing the bounty bestowed on us by God.
That same Sunday morning some of us heard a sermon about contentment. In many ways, being thankful follows from being content. Especially during December we must try to avoid getting caught up in the consumerism and enticements of what could become a thing-centered Christmas. Despite the fact that deep down we know people are more important than things, we too easily can get distracted by accumulating possessions for ourselves or helping our children or grandchildren accumulate. Instead we should try to emulate the attitude of the apostle Paul who said, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12) Paul also reminded us that “godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (1 Timothy 6:6-8) This Advent season let us strive to give the gifts of time and service thankfully and worry less about things. Let us rejoice in God’s works on our behalf and spend quality time with the people he has placed in our midst. The surroundings do not have to be perfectly decorated nor the food prepared without flaw for us to enjoy the neighbors and family members in front of us.