Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NRSV)
A survey released earlier this week stated that 61% of families changed their Thanksgiving plans due to COVID-19 spikes. My family is one of them. The night before my parents were due to fly to Naples to celebrate Thanksgiving with me, we had a honest conversation about our mutual anxieties for their safety.
I was disappointed and saddened for my first holiday without family of origin. I was fortunate to make plans that are safe and socially distant with close friends. Each person and family must make decisions appropriate for themselves.
“Pandemic fatigue” is certainly an understandable condition. We have grown weary and the holidays only make it more real. Being aligned with our traditions, as well as the desire to gather for worship, are all understandable. It is easy to focus on what the pandemic has taken from us, isn’t it? It is easy to focus on what traditions cannot be observed, isn’t it?
However, on this national day of giving thanks, I hope you will join me in intentionally naming those things for which you are thankful. Perhaps it is family (even if you cannot be with them today) or maybe it is memories of bygone Thanksgivings. Maybe you are thankful that you have the resources to receive this devotional and read these words. Or the fact that you have a roof over your head and food on your table. Or like me, perhaps you are grateful for our church family and the connection we share despite our current distance.
For many of us, today will be a different kind of Thanksgiving. However, I hope that we will not stop giving thanks. And as the first verse of the hymn “Count Your Blessings” reminds us “name them one by one.” Happy Thanksgiving!
“When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”
For medical professionals working on Thanksgiving Day
Loving God, help me to be more thankful every day. Amen