Greetings once again, Woodburn!

We have had a great couple of days surrounding us, with such great turnouts to our community by: SUSAN VETTER - Kristi Stokley pauses from her job volunteering in the serving line at Woodburn Immanuel Lutheran Church's annual Fall Festival on This last week we held the Fall Festival, in which the Scandinavian flatbread lefse was sold, along with other crafts and quilts, baked goods, etc. We are giving thanks for your presence at our events, and we hope to see you at the next one.

Speaking of giving thanks, we will be celebrating one of my favorite holidays soon: Thanksgiving. This holiday has collected many family traditions by: SUSAN VETTER - Two friends catch up over a meal at Woodburn Immanuel Lutheran Church, which hosted its annual Fall Festival on Saturday.over the years, and I think that’s what I enjoy most about it.

Of course, this holiday isn’t always seen in the best light. Some have seen this time as a reminder of the awful ways in which two colliding cultures can devastate one another, or one to oppress the other. I remember hearing the unique perspective of this voice while in seminary some years ago, speaking out against the celebration of Thanksgiving as a holiday because it reminded them of how the settlers from Europe took over the land and killed the native people of this continent.

While we will always have this and many more cases of troubling stories in our history as a nation, it’s my opinion that these stories do not define us, but they shape us and allow us to act, which gives us opportunities to act with more care, grace and conscious behavior.

Thanksgiving can therefore be a holiday devoted to learning gratitude, humility and acceptance. We can learn to be grateful for what we have, where we’ve come to and now what chances we have to do better than our forefathers did. Our goal should always be to build upon the work that our past heroes accomplished to make a more grace-filled and wholly peaceable society.

Thanksgiving, and in many ways, the whole month of November has been claimed by social media websites like Facebook and Twitter as the Month of Thankfulness. During this month, lots of people post what they are thankful for, 30 days in a row, with a new motive for gratitude each day. For example, “Day 4: I’m thankful for my children.” This is as much a spiritual practice as it is therapeutic and clever.

Giving thanks was important for the figures in the Bible as well. It is often denoted in Greek as “eucharisto” or some derivative of the word, which literally means “I give thanks.” It’s where we get the word Eucharist for the worship service in which Christ gave thanks before giving the disciples the bread and wine which had become his body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. (See the Gospel of Luke, chapter 22, verses 14-23).

Give thanks with us every Sunday this November, and every month. God’s peace be with you.

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