As we approach Thanksgiving, let us recall the words that St. Paul wrote in his final advice at the end of his first letter to the Thessalonians - "Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Thomas Aquinas, the renown 13th century priest and theologian, regarded gratitude as the recollecting of the friendship and kindliness shown by others, and the desire to "pay them back." In this regard, gratitude puts a person in a position of being indebted to another, putting that person in a position of humility; therefore, gratitude, by nature, is expressed when one is humble.

Perhaps this is why gratitude is difficult to express for those who are prideful.

This line of thought leads me to ask myself, "Am I humble enough to acknowledge that I do not understand all things?" There may be good even in seemingly difficult or broken circumstances. When humility drives inquiry, curiosity, gratitude develops. Gratitude then leads to joyfulness.

Let us be humble in acknowledging the great debt that was taken for us, the grace that we receive through the costly sacrifice of the Son and be thankful for all God is doing in and around us now. Let us prayerfully seek His understanding and cling to the joy that come from the hope we have in the Gospel.

As Pastor of Upper Room Youth, I am grateful for the Gospel, the mission of the Church placed before us in this community, and for the incredible students that I have been able to connect with and serve during my first few months here. I am also thankful for our faithful volunteers who make it all work, and for the prayers and support of this congregation.

Please continue to keep Upper Room and this next generation in your prayers.


Joshua Ray
Youth Pastor
First Methodist Conroe