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October 30, 2015, 2:57 PM

Thanksgiving, Blessing Bags, and Glory Sightings


We will soon celebrate Thanksgiving. There will be family dinners, football, televised parades, and perhaps shopping. Family traditions are as varied as families themselves. And that word “tradition” implies that we will be repeating practices and celebrations that we have found valuable and meaningful before. 
I am often asking questions that help move things forward like, “What’s next?” or “What would be the next level?” I don’t have any new recipes for preparing Thanksgiving leftovers. But, I have been considering the “next level” for our Blessing Bags. 
You may recall that in preparation for Thanksgiving Sunday last year, we distributed small paper bags labeled “Blessing Bag.” We used them to hold slips of paper noting God’s blessings in our lives. On that Sunday, everyone brought their Blessing Bags and some came forward and told us about one or two major blessings they identified. 
Well, we are certainly going to maintain the tradition of using our Blessing Bags. If you don’t have one, they are located in the back of sanctuary on Sunday mornings or in the church office. 
Get your Blessing Bag and make note of God’s blessings!
So, what’s the “next level?” How much better does it get than identifying our blessings? Not that it’s “better,” but consider looking for Glory Sightings in your life. I discussed these in my Circuit Rider article in April of this year. At PUMC Council meetings and weekly staff meetings, we always take time to identify Glory Sightings – where have we seen God at work for good in our lives or the lives of others. 
That’s a good rudimentary definition.  But again, I’m asking myself “What’s next?” with our understanding of Glory Sightings. What are we looking for beyond the nice, happy, convenient things like “I finally found my car keys?” Don’t get me wrong, these certainly are things to thank God for. 
As I pray and reflect, I believe Glory Sightings would be identifying God’s work for good in our lives to bring about God’s Reign, Rule, Kingdom, salvation, and our growth in love. In other words, even more than making us happy-- more than providing a convenient parking place-- what is God doing to make us holy? How is God adjusting my love, my attitude, my regard for others? How is God moving me to service, meeting me in prayer, and guiding my relationships in godly ways? Where do I see lives transformed by God’s love? Where do I see God’s glorious love being revealed? 
What is God doing to grow my love?
I’m still convinced that we often see what we are looking for. So, in addition to noting blessings, I invite you to consider this deeper understanding of Glory Sightings to identify things to place in your Blessing Bag this year. How is God working the things in your life for good (Romans 8:28)? How is God growing you forward in love? 
On Sunday, November 22, bring your Blessing Bag to worship as we celebrate Thanksgiving Sunday. You will have the opportunity to share a Blessing or Glory Sighting with the community of faith. 
November 22 is Thanksgiving Sunday!
Go in peace. Go with God. And be well.

Shalom,


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