Grace and peace be with you. I pray that this time of thanksgiving may be for you a time of joy and gratitude. That said, it can also be a time of challenge. As John said in his sermon on Sunday, Thanksgiving can be a time of anxiety or dread as we anticipate spending time with relatives or acquaintances that may be difficult. It can also be a time of sadness as we miss those who we lost this past year or in recent years who used to sit around the table with us.
When discussing favorites of Thanksgiving meals I often share that pecan pie is my all-time favorite all the while internally remembering my grandmother’s pie. I miss her and each holiday is a reminder of that loss. I’m also aware that I may never again have pecan pie that good. And so, if we are honest about this holiday, we can come to the conclusion that the Normal Rockwell version of the holiday is an expectation that has the potential to downplay the real experiences of our lives like my loss of my grandmother.
Gratitude does not come when everything is picturesque and when dinner comes together perfectly. Thanksgiving is a chance to see life for what it is and to take a moment to be grateful that God has blessed us both with abundance and with challenge. As we enter into the coming Advent season, I am hopeful that we can see that it is into the imperfect state of real life that God comes and dwells amongst us. I hope your holiday will be filled with great food and that you will get to see people who you rarely spend time with, and I hope that in and of itself reminds us of how blessed we are. I also hope that you know that no matter what, God loves you, and there is nothing greater for which to give thanks.