I can hardly believe that it is November again. The weather is changing and you can feel the crispness in the air. November is full of lots of running around at our house. We have Thanksgiving to plan and Christmas is quickly approaching. Shopping has to start and planning for celebrating our Lord’s birth has begun. November always feels like a blur to me. It is like the time before the party when the preparations are made and RSPVs are turned in. Advent and Christmas will be here before we know it. This realization has got me thinking:

Have you ever thought about the idea that Jesus’ first public miracle was at a party? There was a wedding and Jesus was in attendance. Jesus’ mother Mary calls on Him to save the wedding when the wine runs out early. Jesus turns water into wine. It is only the disciples, Mary, and the servants who really know what happens, but Jesus saves the party. The wine that Jesus created was better than the wine that had run out. The people at the party are stunned because it is customary to serve cheaper, less-enjoyable wine later in the party, but it appears that the hosts have saved the best for last.

I think Jesus was honoring His mother’s request with this miracle, but He was also telling us something about God and God’s plan for the world. God is saving the best for last. The coming Kingdom of God is like a party that is only going to get better. As we grow in our discipleship by accepting the gift of faith and putting it to work in our lives, we become part of God's plan. I like to think of heaven and the fullness of God’s Kingdom to come as the ultimate party to which all are invited. Some will choose not to come. Some will refuse to get ready. Some will not take it seriously, but the invitations have been offered in faith to all. And, like the wine Jesus made, the best is yet to come.

If, like me, you find yourself overwhelmed this time of year or perhaps the pain of the pandemic has you worn out, let’s remember that the best is yet to come. When the wine ran out, Jesus made better wine. When the world needed a savior, Jesus offered Himself. When death on a cross appeared to have ended all hope, God showed us resurrection. God is not done with us and what God has planned will be so much better than what we can imagine now. So as we give thanks this month and start preparing for next, let’s take the time to rest in God’s promises and to trust that God will continue to lead us as long as we continue to follow.

So, my friends, take heart. The party is not over. In fact, it really has not yet kicked into high gear. The one true God is calling us to put our faith into practice and be part of the movement that seeks to prepare all to live in a Kingdom based in God’s love. Now that is a party I am willing to get tired preparing for!

Hopeful and grateful to God,

Pastor Jimmy Hendricks
 pastorjimmy@nolensvilleumc.org