Side dishes – Pastoral Backstory – November 24th, 2016


November 24th, 2016

ht_green_bean_casserole_jef_121115_wmainIn this abbreviated Backstory, a couple side-dishes of sorts for your Thanksgiving repast.

One morsel for the right brain, one for the left brain.

Both for the soul. Enjoy.



It’s possible that as you gather among friends and family today, it will be a welcome respite from the rancor all around us.

It’s also possible, if not downright likely, that you will greet, hug, catch up, eat, eat some more, and break up your respective children’s fights, with those of mixed loyalties and backgrounds. But what’s more, the heterogeneous nature of your gathering may even be cause for a taste of that same rancor you hoped the holiday would exempt you from.

No joke–the fear, the schadenfreude, the anger, the stifled recriminations may well boil over sometime that night, like the rice you let stay too long on the stove while you were waxing on about the future of the country.

What to do–seeing how over half of the country hopes the topic doesn’t even come up?

As with all potentially unpalatable times, a little perspective helps.

Here’s a little ditty with a dead-on message. You may have already caught it. It’s by a family combo known as The Avett Brothers, and while it has no explicitly political overtones, it has as much to say to anyone in any season who finds themselves tempted to let rivalry run amok.



And then, as you take stock of just how important those matters really are–matters whose importance may in fact matter greatly, but just not enough to keep you and yours at odds over Thanksgiving dinner–hear a succinct and searching word from Ann Voskamp.

Anyone who knows her knows gratitude is her most consistent clarion call. And for good reason. As she makes plain in the message, life doesn’t get better by waiting for it to get better and then responding to such with thanksgiving. Rather the goodness of life dawns like the sun when one awakes early to find one’s reasons for gratitude–even when outside it’s still dark. In other words, joy isn’t the precursor for gratitude; it’s the consequence of it.



May your day, hard as it may be, still be filled with Thanks.


Author: Patrick

Pastor of Christ the King Church (PCA)

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  1. By God’s grace, most of us will be thankful today with family and friends; others, required to work, will be thankful with fellow employees and strangers. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  2. Patrick, thanks for posting the Ann Voskamp talk. It was an encouragement to us, and we shared tidbits from it with others throughout the day. Paul even asked everyone at the Thanksgiving table to say three things they were thankful for, and it filled the whole time with such love, joy, and eagerness to hear from one another. Several kept going after three! I believe it was one of the most God honoring Thanksgiving meals I’ve ever experienced. Thank you.

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