One of my family’s favorite things to do is to eat together. Generally when we celebrate it’s all about the food, and sitting around the table and eating and talking and being together.
I remember reading a news report that shared the results of a study by a group of sociologists somewhere. The study revealed that persons raised in homes where at least one meal a day was taken around a table with all members of the family present tend to be better adjusted, more successful, and happier as adults. Those kinds of studies always remind me of the family table at which I grew up.
We had one of those large country tables with benches instead of chairs. We played games and did homework and visited around that table. But most of all, I remember gathering around that table for our evening meal. Sometimes it would be just the family. But often the gathering included visiting relatives, or a lot of friends. The more the merrier. There was never a time when an extra place couldn’t be set.
Important things happened at that table. Decisions were made about school and work and play. Stories were told and retold, traditions were passed on, prayers were prayed, personalities were shaped, and dreams were dreamed. I served my first meal to my husband at that table. It wasn't all sweetness and light. Often the table was where bad news was shared, where correction was given, where fears were reluctantly revealed and forgiveness sought and given.
When my parent’s home was destroyed by fire, one of the hardest things we had to do was say good-bye to that table. I give thanks for the table... the familiar table... the family table. But as time went by, we held on to the special memories of that table and created new memories around different tables, even tables in new places.
In ways this Thanksgiving will be different. Many gatherings will be smaller, travel will likely be curtailed and maybe we will not be sitting at the tables we had hoped for. Like Rev Grace preached this week, it is easy to be consumed by the things we don’t have and lose the blessings of the moment.
I know Stephen and I will spend this weekend on the phone and over Zoom with lots of family and friends. We have nurtured and renewed relationships during COVID and meet regularly over the “dinner table”. We will host our traditional church Thanksgiving Eve meal over Zoom too. While these settings are not perfect, they still offer some of the blessings of gathering around the table. They will still include sharing stories and laughter and tears. They remind us that connections forged in love are not easily broken. And for this – I am thankful.
I wish you a blessed Thanksgiving. May you know God’s grace, peace and love.
Advent begins this Sunday.
Bring a candle to light together at the beginning of service, https://gnjumc.zoom.us/j/98657500877 .
Night Before Thanksgiving Celebration.
We will be meeting for one hour 6:30-7:30 Wednesday, Nov 25 on Zoom, same link as Sunday, https://gnjumc.zoom.us/j/98657500877 .You can choose to eat or not, it's up to you. We will have some fun games, a Thanksgiving Bingo, and a special blessing. Of course there will be time to chitchat and enjoy one another’s company. Please don’t miss this special evening.
New: Honor Loved Ones
Each year we decorate our altar with beautiful poinsettias given in honor of loved ones. This year since we will be bringing the beauty of our church outside. We are purchasing a beautiful outdoor nativity; we want to be a beacon of hope to those who drive by. You are invited to share a gift of $25 to honor a loved one, a listing of donors will be included in the Christmas letter. Mail donations to Simply Grace UMC, PO Box 86, Bloomsbury, NJ 08804. Include a note for whom this gift is in “memory” or “honor”. Any questions contact Nancy Huber, firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Week: We will begin assembling our Christmas Packages for Clymer, we would like to collect all the cards by Dec 5.
If you have someone you would like to receive a package of cheer please email their mailing address to email@example.com
We still have about 10 slots needed to be filled for Angel Tress gifts. Please click this link to sign up for the Angel Tree:
https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0D4AA5AF22A4F8C61-angel Everyone who signs up will receive directions how to drop off by Dec 13.
Food For Friends
The pandemic has affected all the world, and our friends from La Esperanza, Honduras have suffered too. (Now have the added burden of two devastating hurricanes that have hit the country). This year we will be sending a financial gift to support 8 families in purchasing food and necessities for the winter. You may give on PAYPAL https://www.bloomsburyumc.com/mission or mail a check to Simply Grace UMC PO Box 86, Bloomsbury, NJ 08804, mark Honduras for both options. Thanks for your generosity.
Finally, we would like to finish off 2020 in a good financial shape. Thank you for your generosity. Please know all gifts must be postmarked by Dec 31 to be applied to 2020 taxes.Worship is happening live on Zoom at 9:30 till end of 2020.
Join Zoom Meeting https://gnjumc.zoom.us/j/98657500877
Meeting ID: 986 5750 0877
Giving is easy! You may mail a check to
Simply Grace, PO Box 86, Bloomsbury NJ 08804
Click the donate button to give directly via PayPal: simplygraceumc.com