Gathering Matters


November has arrived. In spite of the already present Christmas advertising, most of us women will be planning for Thanksgiving, even though the seasons sometimes overlap on our to-do lists.

Maybe you are like me and you’ve asked yourself, “Why am I doing all of this?!” on more than one overly busy day. We women do tend to take on more than can be done. At least this woman does. But I know what I’m doing matters, that my efforts might result in good for those I love, that something meaningful might take place when we are together. And that hope is all this mom needs to keep going.

Because we are thinking a lot about gathering this month at Ever Thine Home I did some searching in my favorite Book and learned some surprising truth about this common word that will make my Thanksgiving prep a lot more meaningful. Yours too, I hope.

The word gather is used over 130 times throughout the Old and New Testaments, which means it’s not an inconsequential concept. The most common use is in reference to God gathering us, His people.

Deuteronomy 30: 3 says, “God will gather you again from all the peoples…” and in Matthew 18:20 Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them.”

Gathering together mirrors God’s familial relationship with His Son and with us, His children. It is therefore a very biblical practice. If gathering is something God does and we are to imitate Him then I want to bring my people together and make it meaningful for my King.

The lyrics at the top from the song for today speak about gathering by a river. Since the Garden of Eden, when God placed the home He made for Adam and Eve at the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates, rivers have been gathering places for His children.

God’s people lived near the Nile in Egypt and into that river Moses was placed with a prayer and hopes of deliverance. The Jordan River formed the entrance to the Promised Land and in those waters Jesus was baptized. In the foreign land of Babylon, God’s people gathered together at the river Chebar, where one day Ezekiel saw his visions of angels and a future God would unfold one day. And on the banks of the same Tigris River once enjoyed by Adam and Eve, Daniel saw a vision of a man dressed in linen with a belt of pure gold around his waist. Life-altering moments happened near rivers of water.

Perhaps that’s why in Acts 16, Paul and his companions, recently arrived in Phillipi, went on the Sabbath “to a riverside where we were supposing there would be a place of prayer, and we sat down and began speaking to the women who were assembled.”

But still, why were there no men? Why were these women not at the synagogue on the Sabbath or were they not allowed? Were they all Gentiles? And why did Paul and his friends assume this was where they could find those whose hearts were open to God?

Like Lydia and her friends who met Paul and Jesus that day, women today are often the instigators of gatherings—whether by a river, in our kitchens, or even at a park while our kids play.

We are also usually the leaders of gatherings of family and friends around holidays and other special occasions. This desire to share life together is good because we know God is present when two or more believers gather together.

This year as you prepare for Thanksgiving, don’t succumb to the usual stresses, but instead remember that your gathering is both a link to generations past and a foretaste of the day when God will gather all of His children to Himself for the wedding supper of the Lamb!  Celebrate together both your heritage and your future!

Consider more about gathering by tuning in to a series of broadcasts on FamilyLife Today in anticipation of our annual holiday, Thanksgiving. Listen here.

For meaningful meal time conversations for gathering at Thanksgiving or anytime, use our best-selling Untie Your Story ribbon napkin ties. Thousands of families have enjoyed one another as never before thanks to this easy and practical addition to your get together. Get yours here


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