It’s that time of the year when we remember to be thankful. Centered on the holiday of Thanksgiving, we remember to be thankful for creation, for Christ in our midst, for freedom, for family and friends, for turkey and dressing, and for every good gift God provides. But for me, Thanksgiving also comes with sin. I must admit that every Thanksgiving I’m guilty of gluttony. I eat way too much and if there’s persimmon pudding on the table I have a tendency to consume more than my fair share. And when I’m finally finished with the feast, I retire to a couch and turn on a football game with a satisfied grin all over my face.

But after the festivities of Thanksgiving are over, a thankful heart remains. At least I hope so! Following this holiday focused on food and thankfulness, we are then thrust into the season of Advent, where we learn to wait, anticipate, and look forward to Christ coming into the world. This too, is a season surrounded by thanksgiving, remembering how God so loved the world that He sent His Son to be among us.

As Advent ushers in a new lectionary year, we will be leaving the Gospel of Matthew and welcoming the Gospel of Mark. Out of all the Gospels, Mark is short, sweet, and to the point. There is no birth narrative; actually right away in the first chapter Jesus is already driven into the wilderness to begin his mission and ministry. Mark’s Gospel has a sense of urgency, things happen quickly (the word immediately occurs 42 times in Mark verses only once in Luke), but everything really slows down at the end as Jesus journeys to the cross. Also in Mark, is a very surprising ending to the whole story which leaves us scratching our heads!

I hope this wets your Thanksgiving appetite to hear more. This year during Advent I will be holding a class on Mark. We will meet in the Imagine Center on Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. on December 5th, 12th, and 19th. Each session will begin with a dessert, and then move into the incredible unfolding of events that Mark shares with us regarding the mission and ministry of Jesus. I hope you’re able to join us as we dive into this fast-paced gospel and the reign of God according to the Gospel of Mark.

Peace, Pastor Derek