From the Pastor . . .

Giving Thanks

As you read these words, the Thanksgiving holiday in our nation will be in the rear view mirror and preparations for Christmas already in high gear. However, I am writing these thoughts before Thanksgiving, so giving thanks is on my mind. And I am thankful for all of you.

I am thankful that the Lord has led all of you to our congregation. I am thankful that he has put this poor, miserable sinner into the office of pastor here to serve you. I am thankful for all your encouragement and support, and for putting up with me. I am thankful for how you take care of one another. I am thankful for your generosity in support of missions, our seminaries and seminarians, and our congregation. I am thankful for your faithful reception of our Lord's Word and Sacraments. I am thankful for the leaders He has raised up here to lead our congregation, and so ably. I am thankful for our musicians. I am thankful for those of you who drive so far so often to attend the Divine Service here with us. I am thankful for the hugs of our children. I am thankful that the Lord has watched over and protected our congregation during this pandemic. I am thankful for another year of grace that our Lord has so abundantly poured out on us.

When I came here (and it will be 20 years this Spring!) I had no idea what to expect. I had my own thoughts about how things would go . . . but I quickly found out that was not how things would be! God did things His way, and still is. (Another reason to give thanks!) He is leading us along paths we didn't expect, and in His own way and time. But all good. Always good. And for our good. We've touched many lives over these 20 years, in ways large and small, and there are many more still to come, I'm sure. More seminarians, maybe a school, maybe in our own facility.

Yet all of this is possible only because the infinite, all-knowing, all-present, all-powerful God, who created the heavens and the earth and cares for them still, became small and weak - a baby in a manger. God entered time to touch our lives with His love, mercy, and forgiveness. That's who was touching the blind, the deaf, the lame, the lepers, and the sinners. That's who was hanging on the cross. That's who's touching us in His Word and Sacraments today. And that's who's preparing a place for us to live forever. The Lord of lords and King of kings who at Christmas was born as our brother. Who ever could have imagined that! And yet that's what God has done for us and what we now celebrate at Christmas.

So I guess it's good that our National Day of Thanksgiving falls so close to Christmas. So we remember to give thanks not just for the gifts our loving and gracious God gives us for this world and life, but most of all for the gift of His Son, our Saviour. So as we enter this holiday season, rejoice and enjoy all the festivities! But take some time to pause and reflect, too. On all that you have to give thanks for, for the gift of our Saviour, and for another year of grace.

His servant and yours,

          Pastor Douthwaite

Saint Athanasius Lutheran Church
Missouri Synod
Church Location: 114 Kingsley Road SW, Vienna, VA  22180
Mailing Address: 3057 Nutley Street Suite 822, Fairfax, VA  22031
703-455-4003                       Rev. James Douthwaite, Pastor