By Pastor Mike Ashman   Zion Lutheran Church – Jubilee, Rural La Porte City

Dear Friends,
We are slowly heading down the road toward Thanksgiving, which we should note is the latest possible date for Turkey Day. This situation puts us pastors in a little bit of a bind – after the sleepiness of eating the gobbler, we are left with no time to prep for Advent. This year only two days separate the two events. While I might be semi-prepared for Thanksgiving (and by the way, I do not do Black Friday), I remain miserably unprepared for Advent Worship. Out here in the middle of everywhere (Jubilee), we have services both on Wednesday evenings and on the weekends.

So, the next few days will be filled with preparing short devotional readings to be spoken during the lighting of the Advent wreath candles. Also preparing short dialogues to be presented during the mid-week services. Also trying to put the whole Christmas Eve worship together is one of those tricky ask-and-cross-your-fingers-activity.

In between I will be roasting two large turkeys for our Ecumenical Thanksgiving Worship hosted by Jubilee on November 24 (stop in for worship and potluck at 5:30, you are more than welcome). I will also be finding some precious time to make a few lists – lists of things for which I am thankful. Putting items in writing on paper makes them more tangible. And multiple lists mean making up a variety of lists (one for people, one for spiritual blessings, another for health concerns, still another for community blessings). These lists will find their way into both morning and evening prayers, another practice to cultivate this time of year. (Just a side note… speaking of cultivate, we keep in our prayers all those who are still struggling to harvest.)

All this and then…I am reminded of the words of Dr. Paul Harms to ask, “Where do you find Jesus Christ and the cross in the midst of your chaos?” During these days of preparation, we as Christians are reminded that the cross finds a way into our lives, whether we be buying gifts or making meals. Jesus knocks at our doors, and sometimes at the most inopportune time like while we are trying to make lump-free gravy (for the first time ever). God finds a way into our lives, when we least expect it.

May you and yours enjoy your bird of choice.