Pastor Reflections.....

With November comes Thanksgiving, a time to remember 4 magic words—“I Thank Thee Lord!”

I trust that this Thanksgiving we will not forget our four magic words. We will eat well, enjoy family togetherness, and some of us will watch football games. But it is essential to not forget or overlook the four magic words—“I Thank Thee Lord!”

The psalmist did not forget God’s many blessings. He wrote: “Every day I will praise you and extol your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will mediate on your wonderful works. They tell us the power of your awesome works—and I will proclaim your great deeds. They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness” (Psalm 145: 2-7).

In Psalm 126 we read: “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy’” (Psalm 126: 1-3).

K. Chesterton, a writer and philosopher of another era (probably best known for his Father Brown mysteries on PBS), wrote “The test of happiness is gratitude.” Yes, it is essential to not overlook the four magic words— —“I Thank Thee Lord!”

And, then Christmas!

Writer Gordon McDonald tells about a Nigerian woman who is a physician at a great teaching hospital in our country. This distinguished woman attended a lecture McDonald had just given and she made it a point to see him afterwards to express kindness and appreciation for his words. She introduced herself using an American name.

“What’s your African Name!” he asked. She immediately gave it to him, several syllables long with a musical sound to it.

What does the name mean?” he asked.

She answered, “It means ‘Child who takes the anger away.’”

Then she went on to explain why she had this name.

“My parents had been forbidden by their parents to marry. But they loved each other so much that they defied the family opinions and married anyway. For several years they were excluded from both their families. Then I was born and when the grandparents held me in their arms for the first time, the walls of hostility came down. I became the one who swept the anger away. And that’s the name my mother and father gave me.”

McDonald concluded, “It occurred to me that her name would be a suitable one for Jesus.”

The child who takes the anger away—yes, a good name for Jesus! The Christ Child brought love into human society, enough love so that if each of us lived in that love all anger and hatred in our world would be no more.

Isaiah the prophet wrote, “A little child shall lead them.” It is the Christ child alone who brings peace to troubled hearts, peace to troubled families, and peace to a trouble world. It is Christ”…who takes the anger away.” No wonder He is celebrated as the “Prince of Peace!”

During this Advent/Christmas season may we experience in our hearts “The Child who takes the anger away!” Blessings! – Rev. Cooper Stonestreet

To all who are weary and need rest;

To all who are lonely and need friends;
To all who sin and need the savior,
To whosoever will come, this church opens its doors, and
In the name of Jesus Christ says, “Welcome!”

The United Methodist Church!