Editor’s Note: In a nod to our Presbyterian heritage, we regularly feature a column from a PMMA® chaplain in our newsletter. This month’s column comes from Robert “Bob” Giffin, chaplain at Topeka Presbyterian Manor®. Bob joined in March 2022 and has more than 20 years of experience as a pastor. He’s a U.S. Navy Veteran and retired from the Kansas Highway Patrol as a Major in 2001. He likes to study U.S. military history and enjoys evening walks with his wife.
Our calendars have turned to a new month: November. The word “November” has its roots in the Latin word, “novem”, meaning “nine.” That is because in the Roman calendar there were only 10 months in the year, and November was the ninth month. For us, of course, November marks the 11th month of our calendar year.
When you think of November, what comes to mind?
Prevalent for most of us in the month of November are the colors of autumn that will soon give way to winter. Related to that is a time change – Daylight Saving Time ends and we fall back one hour (an extra hour of sleep!). Veteran’s Day will be celebrated as we honor our men and women who serve, and have served, in our Armed Forces. Thanksgiving brings family and friends together to share a meal, watch football, take a nap, and make lasting memories. Before the turkey cools, Black Friday arrives with opportunities for deals, deals, and more deals.
November, however, also has some nuances – subtle distinctions that may not receive much notoriety. For example, November is “Good Nutrition Month.” Maybe, more celery and less pumpkin pie? November is also National Peanut Butter Lovers Month – the jelly celebration comes later. And, November is American Indian Heritage Month. That certainly seems fitting as we remember the origins of Thanksgiving.
Prevalent or subtle, the days of November afford us multiple opportunities to celebrate, remember, and give thanks. Don’t miss any of those opportunities! In the Bible, King David wrote down some thoughts he had about God. Though I couldn’t know for sure, maybe, just maybe, he wrote this in November:
I eat my fill of prime rib and gravy; I smack my lips. It’s time to shout praises! If I’m sleepless at midnight, I spend the hours in grateful reflection. Because you’ve always stood up for me, I’m free to run and play. I hold on to you for dear life, and you hold me steady as a post.
- Psalm 63:5-8 (The Message)
Whether it’s falling auburn leaves, extra sleep, thanking a Veteran, or shopping ‘till you drop; spend a little time this November in grateful reflection.
Topeka PMMA Chaplain