This weeks author, Rev. Jack Shackles, Jr., is the Pastor of Taftville Congregational Church.
Scripture: James 1:17a (CEB)
Every good gift, every perfect gift, comes from above...
Reflection: Gifts From Above
Only 120 days to Christmas. When I was a boy, 120 days to wait to open my gifts would have seemed like 120 years. Receiving and opening gifts was the highlight of my Christmas season.
Playing a shepherd in the Christmas pageant was sort of fun. I was never asked to be an angel. Singing carols was okay. But my favorite song was, All I Want for Christmas…. The list of what I wanted from Santa was long enough for a scroll.
When the glorious day finally arrived, my family and I opened every gift under the tree. Nothing was left unopened. I looked through the discarded papers and ribbons just to be sure. No one in their right mind would leave an unopened gift.
Now that I am older (okay, much older), I have learned that all those gifts that I longed for were only temporal. The toys are now antiques. The comic books are long lost. The gifts I received with the greatest value were eternal; God’s gracious gifts that I have often left unopened.
Look at just a partial list of God’s gift for us; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Every good and perfect gift comes from God to us. These gifts tell us of the love of the Giver.
Why would anyone want to leave such gifts unopened? We have only to receive these gifts to know the abundance of life in God’s kingdom. Now I understand that the best gifts come from God’s heart, not from the store. They are eternal.
God’s gifts are available any time of the year. Leave no gift unopened. Now is the time.
“A wise lover values not so much the gift of the lover as the love of the giver.” ~ Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
“Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul
Thank you, Lord, for making me whole
Thank you, Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation so rich and free.”
New Prayer Requests:
We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prayers of Intercession:
- for the family and friends of Bill Worcester, spouse of Rev. Dr. Sara Worcester. Bill died on Aug. 26.
- for those grieving or suffering after a shooting at an esport tournament in Jacksonville, FL left 3 dead and several wounded or injured on Sunday.
- for the people in Hawaii affected by Hurricane Lane.
- for the children, teachers, and staff who go back to school this week.
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- for campfires, and the sounds of summer at night.
- for innovation and people willing to try new things.
Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:
Terryville Congregational Church, UCC
Thompson Congregational Church, UCC
United Congregational Church of Tolland UCC
Center Congregational UCC
United Congregational Church Torrington
This Week in History:
Aug. 28, 1955 (63 years ago): Emmitt Till is murdered. A black teen from Chicago, Till was with friends and cousins in Mississippi when he entered a store and flirted with a white woman, presumably on a dare. The woman's husband, Roy Bryant, and brother-in-law, J.W. Milam, abducted Till the next day and drove him to the Tallahatchie River when they killed the boy and sank the body. Till's body was found 3 days later. Bryant and Milam were acquitted by an all-white jury less than a month later.