The cooler weather brings certain gifts. With the change of season, arriving late this year, it is now possible to sit in the crisp cool of the evening, cozied up under a blanket, with an enjoyable book and a warm cup of tea. The summer heat is now behind us, we bring out our knit hats, scarves, and our favorite sweaters. We enjoy watching our wisp of warm breath in the morning air as we rake leaves, plant bulbs, and walk among trees, still clinging to their orange and yellow and red leaves. Autumn’s vibrant color scheme fills us with wonder, as we take in all that God made. And of course, there are the birds. We watch as the waterfowl practice their formation, before taking to flight in search of warmer weather.

But one of the things I love about this time of year is the food. The winter squash and Brussels sprouts and beets beckon to me. The apples are crispy and sweet. Chillier weather means chilis and soups, and all the hot meals we were avoiding cooking in the heat of summer. And we can’t forget about the baking—pies and cookies and holiday treats. There is also the joy of Pumpkin Spice everything! Last week in my grocery shopping, I bought every pumpkin thing I could: pumpkin bisque, pumpkin butter, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin spread, pumpkin hummus, pumpkin-spice-covered-espresso-beans, pumpkin spice rooibos tea, pumpkin ale, pumpkin pancake mix, pumpkin spice incarnations of various breakfast cereals. As the saying goes, “Variety is the (pumpkin) spice of life!!!”

November is the month for giving thanks. We started the month, remembering the gift of the saints we have known and loved. We end the month with Thanksgiving and Advent. It is during this month that the church year rolls over (Christ our King Sunday, November 20th is the last Sunday in the liturgical calendar; November 27th is the first Sunday of the church year), and the shift of season moves from active toil in our gardens to resting on our laurels and reflecting on the blessings we experienced this past year.

The Psalmist exclaims, “O taste and see that the Lord is good, happy are those who take refuge in God” (Psalm 34:8). Where have you seen God’s goodness? Where have you tasted it? For me, my heart fills with gratitude for my family. Sarah and I have been married 20 years and she is still my best friend! I am thankful as I watch my kids grow, each of them on the journey to becoming themselves. I am grateful for all you, and the ways that Jesus shows up in the love and care we have for one another. And I give thanks that God is not through with us yet! Why are you thankful?

Pastor James