ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ - “Come Ye Thankful People Come” is a well-known Thanksgiving Christian song. It celebrates the gathering of Christians in a service of thanksgiving. The simple message is that we are a thankful people and we will come together as the community of faith.
This community of faith that is made up of All Saints Memorial Church, Calvary Chapel, Central Baptist Church, St. Paul Baptist Church, Kings Highway Faith Fellowship, The United Methodist Churches of Atlantic Highlands and Navesink, Living Word Christian Church, New Life Christian Church, Quinn Chapel AME, First Presbyterian Church, and St. Agnes, is coming together this Wednesday evening at 7:30 PM at the United Methodist Church of Atlantic Highlands, located at the corner of Third Avenue and East Garfield. Many people will travel, so they will not be here in the community but so many others will be here. Those who are in town are graciously invited to come and celebrate God’s bountifulness and give thanks unto Him.
The Psalmist is telling us that it is good to give thanks. In giving thanks, we recognize God who provides our daily needs and a bright future. At the same time, it creates a habit of thanksgiving within our own hearts. A thankful heart is a precious commodity. Apostle Paul encourages us to give thanks in everything.
As someone who travels a lot and instinctively seeks to observe people, I find it so pleasant to hear people thank the bus drivers, the pilots, the baggage handlers – those people who serve us and make our travel more comfortable. Someone came up with the idea of October being Pastors’ Appreciation Month. I personally do not seek it, but it makes me feel good to be appreciated. When a group of pastors visited our church in October and saw all of the posters of appreciation, they were impressed with our church.
When some churches take their offering, they sing together, “All things come from Thee, O Lord and of Thine own have we given Thee.” This is a great summation of thanksgiving. We recognize that from the beginning we are not owners, but stewards of what already belongs to the Lord. The Psalmist reminds that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. Things that are in our house, in our offices, in our banks, in our warehouses, first belong to the Lord. Sometimes when I travel internationally, I see signs that say “Property of the US Government” or “Property of the German Government.” I chuckle at them, because God has only made us the stewards and never the owners of what is forever His.
Come, let us gather as a community of faith and gives thanks to God from whom all blessings flow.
Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands. His column, Pastor's Corner appears in the Atlantic Highlands Herald.