It’s the season of raking leaves, bundling up in our warmest clothes, and making preparations to celebrate a Thanksgiving feast. I always love November.
November also brings talk of stewardship – of using our resources in a responsible way that brings glory to God. That is because this is the time of year when the Session needs to build a budget for the coming year. We, like many organizations who depend on donations, are well aware of the lack of certainty when it comes to future giving. So, we do ask for a pledge, or a good-faith estimate, of how you plan on supporting the church financially for the coming year. In addition to financial giving, many of our members give generously of their time – also a benefit to us as we strive for a balanced budget. The financial pledges go directly to our administrative assistant, Kim, who gives the session the totals and a comparison with previous year’s giving for those same givers. No names are shared with the session.
This year the session has chosen the theme of “Gratitude” for our stewardship season. On the first three Sundays of November, you will hear session members share the reasons they are grateful to God for the ministry and life of this congregation, and therefore willing to support it though their gifts of time, talent, and treasure. I’m looking forward to hearing the story of how God is bringing gratitude into the lives of those around me.
But the number one reason I love November is that there is usually room to breathe in November. There is time to appreciate friends and family, or to go for a walk on a cool, crisp, sunny day. I rejoice in the colors on the trees, and the words of Psalm 96 come to mind,
11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12 let the field exult, and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy….
When I see the maples with leaves of green, gold, and red, it feels like they are showing their praise to God – praise that this has been a good year. And though they will appear to die over the winter, the spring will find them budding with new life.
May your November be filled with joy. May you join the trees of the forest in singing praise to God. And may you always know that our God is a God of new life. Even when the branches are bare, there is a promise of spring and the new life God brings.