Thanksgiving is a day of homecoming, writes Katie Funk Wiebe in an article from the CL archives posted online as part of the focus in this issue (November/December 2018) on the upcoming holidays. Thanksgiving should be a day when we gather as families and celebrate what defines and identifies us, Wiebe says. “Those who come together at Thanksgiving indicate that they cherish and hold in trust a shared family pilgrimage. For a short time, the whole family is focused in one direction. The members acknowledge they co-own certain experiences and are joint stewards of them.”
In the print magazine Thanksgiving article “Thank a lot,” Jeremy Matlock invites us to make it a regular practice to thank God for everything. “Be in continual dialogue with God, thanking him for everything you can think of, no matter how small,” writes Matlock.
As we anticipate the upcoming Thanksgiving season, I typically reflect on the things I can be thankful for personally or in terms of my husband and children and our extended families. But what if I also thought about all the things we can be thankful for as Mennonite Brethren, about thanksgiving in terms of our spiritual family. So, here’s a list of the things we can be thankful for as U.S. Mennonite Brethren. We can be thankful for:
- a faith family heritage that emphasizes Jesus, community and reconciliation;
- a mission agency, Multiply which was formed following the merger of MB Mission and C2C Network, that is focusing on discipleship and church planting locally, nationally and globally;
- being part of the incredible global family known as ICOMB, the International Community of Mennonite Brethren;
- our colleges and seminary that strive to teach students how to think rather than what to think as these young men and women prepare to serve and work in our ever-changing world; and
- congregations made up of people who have seen the difference God has made in their own lives and are on mission to make a difference in their communities.
And there are certainly other ministries that are the outcome of our shared family pilgrimage that can be added to the list.
Thinking about all that we as U.S. Mennonite Brethren have to be thankful for deepens our Advent celebration. Valerie Rempel reminds us in her article “Eyes to see” that with the arrival of the Messiah, God’s kingdom broke into our world. And that breakthrough continues today. God is still at work in our world and we are part of his work crew locally, nationally and globally. And that is good reason to celebrate this holiday season.