November Newsletter

When I think of the month of November two things come immediately to mind: deer hunting and Thanksgiving.  The Pennsylvania whitetail season is in full swing in the month of November, as the archery season winds down, with the rut coming to its zenith, it is quickly followed by the rifle season. For many of us, these November days are spent in a tree stand from sunrise to sunset, which I call “dark to dark” hunting. The idea is that we climb into a tree when it’s dark and we don’t get down from the tree until its dark or until the Lord blesses us with a harvest.

I love dark to dark hunts for many reasons. The first is that it affords me an opportunity to practice Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” Tree stands are typically 24 inches by 24 inches, so there’s not a lot of room to move around. Indeed, if you want to see deer in the woods, the first lesson is to be still and quiet.  So “tree time,” as I call it, helps me to get quiet before God and listen to His voice as I enjoy the sunrise, daytime, and sunset. Second, it gives time to think about priorities, responsibilities, goals, and dreams. Twelve hours is a fairly long time to spend in a tree that enables me to think through thorny problems in my life, or evaluate how I use my time, or meditate on various Scriptures.

November also brings to mind Thanksgiving. The fourth Thursday of November is my favorite day of the year because it causes us to pause, reflect, and be thankful to God for His many blessings upon us. It’s also an important day to reconnect with family and friends that we often do not get to see or spend time with. It’s a day to share together with loved ones that we miss and catch up on all of life’s joys and challenges. At our family gatherings, I try to get around to every family member and simply listen to their life’s story.  I encourage you to do the same on this Thanksgiving. Take time to listen, really listen, to your brothers, sisters, children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. In fact, you might be surprised what you can learn from an excited eight year old who is retelling you the last field trip to the nature center. Those young, wide eyed children are God’s constant reminder that He is continually creating new things in life for us to enjoy.

As I’ve been reflecting on what November means to me, the Lord has challenged me.  Quite honestly, there’s no reason I can’t dedicate time every day to slow down my pace and to listen to God. I don’t need to be 20 feet in the air, hanging on to the side of a tree, to be quiet before God. I can do that in my easy chair at home, while driving in the car, or when getting ready for bed at night.  Additionally, I don’t need to wait for Thanksgiving to arrive to take time to be thankful. Instead, I want to be intentional about living my life every day as a thankful child of God.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” In everything means literally every day, at all times. Thanksgiving is not just a once a year event but rather meant to be a daily purpose in the heart of every Christian to humbly acknowledge to God gratefulness for His work through Christ for us.

Join me in the month of November in making every day a day filled with Thanksgiving an quietness before the Lord.

 

Thankfully,

  Pastor Tom