1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
5 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters,[a] you do not need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 When they say, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! 4 But you, beloved,[b] are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; 5 for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. 6 So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; 7 for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.
Happy Thanksgiving! I remember celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday in grade school with Pilgrim and Indian costumes and a special Thanksgiving hot lunch cooked by the cafeteria ladies. In our St. John’s preschool, there are always lots of construction paper turkeys and feathers listing what the children are thankful for. One of my friends lists Thanksgiving as her favorite holiday, due to its focus on family and lack of commercialization. Thinking about Thanksgiving gives me a cozy, content feeling.
In contrast, today’s reading from 1 Thessalonians describes the difficulties we may face while waiting for the return of Christ. Christians are cautioned to be awake and alert, to stay sober, and to wear our faith and love like a suit of armor. None of these warnings give me a cozy, content feeling. However, verse 11 is one of my favorites: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”
One of the things I am most thankful for is the encouraging, supportive community I have found at St. John’s Lutheran Church and Preschool. When one of the preschool teachers is facing a health crisis, the rest of us encourage and support her. When one of the members of our parenting small group is feeling discouraged, the rest of us support and pray for him or her. When someone in our congregation is deployed, has a baby, loses a loved one, or gets a new job, the rest of us bring meals, send cards, say prayers, make phone calls, and share rides. In a world that is trying ever harder to tear us apart and tear us down, the only way we can continue to stay alert and wait for Jesus is through the encouragement and support of our faith community. Today, my cozy, content Thanksgiving feeling comes from watching all of us encouraging each other and building each other up. I am so thankful for all of you.
Dear Lord, we give you thanks for all of our blessings—our families, friends, food, clothing, and shelter. We thank you for those who encourage us and support us through both good and bad times. Help us to encourage and build up those around us so that we all may better serve you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Written by Melissa Roselle—Preschool Director of Education