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Posted: November 8, 2012 9:56 p.m.

McCoy: Remembering and celebrating

"You must bring your entirely burned offerings, your sacrifices, your tenth-part gifts, your contributions, your payments for solemn promises, your spontaneous gifts, and the oldest offspring of your herds and flocks to that place. You will have a feast there, each of you and your families, in the Lord your God's presence, and you will celebrate all you have done because the Lord your God has blessed you."

Deuteronomy 12:6-7
(Common English Bible)

We love remembering and celebrating. Just look at the calendar. Each year as we mark off time with days, months and special days, we see the calendar dotted with times of remembering and celebrating. We have memorial days and national holidays mixed with religious festivals, personal birthdays and anniversaries. Even in our professional lives (whether it be work or school), we journey from one special day to another without even blinking. Life, work and school just seem to be the parts in between the special days.

Remembering and celebrating have always been part of the Judeo-Christian heritage. From the earliest times, we read of people remembering their ancestors and celebrating their feasts to the Lord.

In Deuteronomy, the Israelites are told to bring their contributions and offerings together as celebrations and to remember all that God had done for them in delivering them from slavery.

These verses stand between their wilderness journey and their entering the land promised to their forefathers, so they are to remember whose they are and from where they have come as they venture forth to celebrate new life in their new home.

We, too, stand between remembering and celebrating. With Halloween over and Thanksgiving just around the corner, we stop to remember those in our lives who have given so much for the freedoms that we enjoy. Risking life and limb, these heroes have gone into foreign conflict and some have returned, blessed to be alive and honored to tell the heroic stories of those who did not return.

This weekend, we will celebrate Veterans Day and remember those who have touched our lives by their selfless sacrifice. Some are still with us and I hope that you will honor them by your kind words of gratitude for their service and sacrifice. Some of them are no longer among us, but their memories will continue in our hearts.

As we venture forth into the last part of the year, a time of celebration, some of us may dread Thanksgiving and Christmas because we have lost someone special during the year. Celebrations may haunt us as reminders that something isn't quite right. Holidays seem to put an exclamation point behind the fact that someone very special is missing.

We call these the "holiday blues," and we all experience this at one time or another in our lives. Even Elvis sang about having a "Blue Christmas." Our losses may include a person or a job, a home, physical or financial independence, or a relationship.

Help is on the way. If you need a little extra encouragement during the holidays, you are not alone. Come and join us for the "Holiday Blues" class as we meet together with Dr. Cindy Elrod, Ph.D., LPC, from the Care and Counseling Centers of Georgia. Dr. Elrod will provide information and interactive opportunities to help us deal with the most joyous and sometimes most difficult time of the year.

This free class is offered for the community and will be held at Covington First United Methodist Church on the second and third Sundays of November, December and January at 4:30 p.m. You may call the church office to register for this free class. (770) 786-7305.

As we celebrate our veterans and remember their sacrifices for our lives, and as we celebrate holidays and remember those who are missing from our lives, we can have hope that no matter what comes, God is with us. Life is made up of remembering and celebrating, and when we do both in healthy ways, we can be all that God has truly created us to be.


Rev. Jan McCoy is the associate pastor of Covington First United Methodist Church in downtown Covington. She may be reached at jan.mccoy@ngumc.net.

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