Thanksgiving Greetings to Our Sedona UMC Family & Friends,

A grateful heart sees each day as a precious gift from God. Thankful people focus less on what they lack or what they are facing and more on the blessings they have. I was blessed while working our opening day at the Pumpkin Patch this year to meet a young family who had two children with them. They could hardly contain their excitement at being in the midst of all these pumpkins. Mom and dad couldn’t keep up, mom running one direction, dad the other apologizing for the “ruckus” the kids were making screaming at the top of their lungs “Thank You God!”

Once the kids had calmed, dad came over and shared that they were unable to have children naturally, but God allowed them the opportunity to adopt these two precious but rambunctious boys who both have Downs Syndrome. I shared with him what a blessing it was for me to be witness these two little gifts from heaven who were so in love with life that nothing else stood in their way of giving thanks and praise to God!

Helen Keller once said, “I thank God for my handicaps. For through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God.” I wondered; what amazing things God might have in store in the future for these two amazing boys so filled with gratitude and in love with life. I was blessed to share over an hour with them—I wish it could have been longer!

Shouldn’t we be equally grateful? God has blessed us with such abundance even sending His only Son to live among us. And now, Jesus is building a home for us (John 14:2). Our deed of ownership is every bit as certain as that of these two young boys. What’s more, Jesus stepped down from heaven and gave us a prescription for our sickness. Sin invaded our souls and often numbs our senses. Yet the Son of Man has promised us we are healed, and, lo and behold, we are!

The grateful heart is like a magnet sweeping over our days, collecting the blessings and reasons for gratitude. A bazillion diamonds sparkle in the sky every night. Thank you, God—I love you! Our eyes are able to read these words and our brain is able to process them in mere seconds. Thank you, God—I love you. Your lungs inhale and exhale thousands of times every day and our heart will circulate our blood throughout our bodies over a billion times in this lifetime. Our brains, the unfathomable things the human brain is capable of puts to shame even the fastest and most powerful super-computer. Thank you, God—I love you!

For the cream in our coffee and the butter on our toast. For the blanket that keeps us warm at night and the sun that enlightens our daily paths. For the safe travels and the abundance of sustenance we enjoy. For the relationships and companionship, for our brothers and sisters that walk this journey with us. For this amazing, beautiful, powerful, loving congregation that we are blessed to call our family of faith. Thank you, Lord—I love you!

Gratitude gets us through the hard stuff. To reflect on your blessings is to honor and glorify God’s love toward us. To know God’s abundant and limitless love for us is to discover God’s heart. To discover God’s heart is to discover not just good gifts but the Amazing & Good Giver.

Gratitude always leaves us facing toward God and away from darkness. It does to anxiety what the sunrise does to early morning fog. It burns it up.

“Give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).

May you enjoy a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Fred