I am the product of tradition. We all are. There are scores of rhythms and patterns that shape our lives, many of which go undetected unless we purposely set out to find them. I watch my siblings in their parenting habits. They set out to schedule their children’s days around the same patterned events every day: rest, food, education, play, more food, and rest again. This is the way that God has designed the human body to flourish.
Whenever the holidays roll around, I begin to dust off the old rhythms and patterns that my parents and grandparents established in our hearts and minds from birth. One of the sweetest traditions has always been a writing assignment that was required every year. The weeks before Thanksgiving Day, my mom would have us sit down -- often a challenge all its own for me -- and would instruct us to write out a list, a letter, a poem of gratitude, or some other creative work to express the thanksgiving in our hearts.
We would list or illustrate the things that we were thankful for, a response to the grace and kindness of God in our lives. Mama would collect our creations, humble as they often were, and keep them safe in a padded notebook on the shelf.
Over the years, that notebook has produced much entertainment for us. We revisit it in the days before our celebration, laughing at our early attempts at poetry and art. And yet, even that simple project produced in us the rhythm of gratitude that God delights to see in the hearts of those who love and fear him. Rhythm fosters remembrance, thankfulness, and joy.
When we look into the pages of the Scriptures, we see that God designed the life of his people to be a life of patterned obedience. The Old Testament is a rich display of God’s wisdom in shaping his people to be people marked by rhythms of worship, thanksgiving, and deep, sustaining joy. Having just finished reading the Psalms, I noted how often the psalmist would call the people of God to worship by reminding them of who God is, what he had done generally in creation, and what he had done particularly in creating for himself a peculiar people redeemed to praise and worship him, the nation of Israel.
Every year, the fasts, festivals, and feasts reminded the nation of the LORD’s redeeming work in their life as a people and pointed them all over again to the hope of his future provision of a Redeemer through whom he would bless the nations of the world.
Thanksgiving is a powerful opportunity that God affords his people in any and every season to remind them of twin truths. First, thanksgiving in every season reminds people that God is gracious. He chooses to reach out to humanity. He chooses to redeem and rescue. He chooses to bless. God, in his grace, always makes the first move, never the other way around.
Second, thanksgiving in every season reminds people that we are unworthy recipients. The very essence of grace tells us that we could not earn that which God gives. It is unfair, imbalanced, and mysterious. Grace is the great scandal of all eternity, that God in his holiness could condescend to commune with humanity. This is good news.
This year, friends, I invite you to consider God’s grace and kindness extended to you. In every season, whether heightened joy or crumbling loss, particular provision or desperate need, we can all say with thankful confidence that, by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, the Lord is kind. There is a wideness in God’s mercy toward us in Christ Jesus, a platform provided for thanksgiving in every season. It is his mercy that draws us away from our trademark selfishness and dead works to love him and others, to be thankful.
Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “So long as we are receivers of mercy, we must be givers of thanks.”
This is God’s intended rhythm for our lives. Thanksgiving happens in small, quiet places: tiny hands folded to thank God for a sandwich, bedtime prayers, poorly-drawn “hand turkeys” in a notebook on a shelf. It is a lifestyle that starts in the nooks of our lives and lingers to color the larger rooms.
Thanksgiving grows, infectiously, and spreads from one heart to the next. How kind of the Lord to faithfully reach out to us who so easily forget his grace and call us again and again to remember and worship. The Lord is kind, and that is our reason for thanks. That is enough.
Conway, Loris, Aynor and Western Horry
■ Loris First United Methodist Church, 3507 Broad St., has a blessing box in the church and it is available each Friday from 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. This box contains non-perishable food items and individuals in need are encouraged to come to the church at those times. Also, if you would like to donate items, please place them in the box.
■ Dogwood Hill Baptist Church, 1040 Mt. Zion Road in Loris, has a food pantry on the third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m.-10 a.m.
■ Salem Baptist Church, 4008 Salem Road in Aynor, opens its food bank on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 9 a.m. until noon. The mission: “We serve Christ when we serve people.”
Call (843) 347-5168 or go online to www.stjamesconway.org.
■ Dogwood Hill Baptist Church Food Pantry, 1040 Mt. Zion Road, Loris, has a food pantry the third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m.
■ Christ the Servant Lutheran Church will hold its Fall Flea Market again.
Tables are available for a $15 donation.
The church is at 2105 U.S. 501 E., Conway, across from HGTC/CCU.
Call (843) 457-3547 for a registration form.
■ First United Methodist Church, 1001 Fifth Ave., Conway will hold Candlelight Advent Concerts in its sanctuary Dec. 5 and 12.
The church’s sextet will offer a seasonal choral program, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m.
There will be a Festival of Lessons and Carols performed by the church’s Chancel Choir, and the St. Anne’s Episcopal Church Choir will present Hal Hopson’s work with organ, string quartet, percussion, readers and congregational participation, Dec. 12 at 6 p.m.
The Advent Concert will feature Kate McDaniel, soprano and Jessica Eaton on piano.
■ Bethany Baptist Church, 3160 Hwy. 45, Loris will host a Homecoming Service at 10 a.m. There will be special music provided by The Royal Descendants.
Myrtle Beach/The Coast
■ You are invited to the following services and activities at The Well by The Sea, 211 Forestbrook Road: Something NEW: Broadcasting live on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. on The Well By The Sea Facebook Live, The Deep Dive is a question and answer show fueled by questions sent in by the community. Questions can be about God, the Bible, prophecy, things relating to the Christian life or any spiritual things that you don't understand or wonder about. No serious question is excluded. They will be entered into the queue for an upcoming show. "LIKE" The Well By The Sea's Facebook page and be automatically notified when the show is about to begin. You may also replay whatever you miss. If watching the show live, you may send a question in the comments section. Or, send questions to: email@example.com.
Also, at the Well By The Sea: In-person Bible study/discussion group on the “9 Supernatural Gifts of the Holy Spirit” on Mondays at 11 a.m. (no cost, no RSVP, masks required).An in-person (or Zoom) weekly bereavement/loss support group meets every Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In-person hangout for young adults (ages 18-30); every Saturday at 7 p.m. Come for a free meal and planned activity. Email email@example.com.
■ The Socastee Pantry is now open and serving. This food pantry will be located at A Father’s House, 4513 U.S. 17 Bypass in Myrtle Beach. Hours are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and Saturday 7 a.m.-10 a.m.
The pantry is sponsored by Faith Outreach Ministries and operated by local veterans. It will provide much needed food and necessities to the needy in our community. Call (843) 474-9900 or visit www.faithoutreachministries-gs.org.
■ Temple Emanu-El by the Sea, 406 65th Ave., North, Myrtle Beach, will hold upcoming Zoom and Temple services. Call (843) 449-5552 or go to www.mbsynagogue.org.
Friday, 6 p.m.
“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities with wearing a mask and physical distancing.”
No classes Education Wednesday
Advanced Hebrew, 12:45 p.m.-1:45 p.m.
Adult Education, 2 p.m.-3 p.m., Rosen Center or Zoom
Events, videos & discussion
Book: Jewish Literacy by Joseph Telushkin
Current Hebrew School, 4 p.m.-6 p.m.
Monthly Book Club
Rosen Center, Call (843) 592-9913.
Chanukah, Nov. 29-Dec. 5.
Steffi Nathan Scholarship Fund
Open to all Jewish College students. Applications
available in the temple office. Scholarships are awarded each semester.
Community Menorah Lighting,
At the Market Commons, Dec. 1, 5 p.m.
Sisterhood is once again collecting socks and underwear (any age/any size) for Fostering Hope.
Chanukah Dinner and Talent Show, Dec. 5, 6 p.m. Adults are $18; children under 12, $12; Latkes, hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, salad. Reserve a spot by Nov. 30. Bring your menorah.
Violins of Hope, SC will be held April 24 at 4 p.m. at the Myrtle Beach High School Music and Arts Center, 3302 Grissom Parkway, Myrtle Beach. Go to https://violinsofhopescticketspice.com/violins-of-hope-sc for tickets.
■ Faith Church on S.C. 90 in Little River sponsors Celebrate Recovery on Tuesdays at 6 p.m.
■ Together in Christ has a Wednesday Zoom prayer meeting from noon-12:30 p.m. each week. Prayer changes everything and you are invited to pray with the mid-week group. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
■ St. Michael’s Catholic Church, 542 Cypress Ave. in Murrells Inlet, has a life chain every first Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on U.S. 17 Business near the church driveway. You are invited to participate in this event. (Bring a chair if not able to stand for the hour.) Contact Joanne Bennett at (614) 313-8425 or email Joanne.bennett55@ gmail.com.
■ Myrtle Beach Christian Church, 1226 Burcale Road, opens its thrift store each week, Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. You are encouraged to come out and browse and buy and, in so doing, you’ll be supporting this community outreach. Call (843) 236-1121.
■ Temple Shalom, 4023 Belle Terre Blvd., invites you to Shabbat services each Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Call (843) 903-6634 or go online to templeshalommyrtlebeach.net.
■ Faith Church on S.C. 90 in Little River sponsors Celebrate Recovery on Tuesdays at 6 p.m.