It’s Thanksgiving this week. I mean the holiday, of course, not “thanks giving,” which we should want to do everyday. Even if we’re particularly focused on harvest thanksgiving, I hope we’d want to be grateful to farmers and the earth more than just one day a year. Oh, and the truck drivers, rail employees, processors and grocery stores. Wait, don’t forget the manufacturers of farm equipment, scientists (especially agronomists) and weather forecasters. And all the businesses and governments that employ people who purchase food they need. And the Food Banks and community groups that support folks who can’t. And the health care community that does just that, cares for our health. I’m sure there’s more – and sorry if I left you out – but I think you get the point. It’s all connected.
And isn’t that the point, also, of a holiday, a special “holy-day?” It’s the single day that reminds us of something we should live everyday. Thanks for life. Thanks to God.
Yes, God. Because, however you know God, God’s at the heart of all this. You might even use a different word to describe it, but God’s the energy, the spirit, the life that powers us and connects us. We want to be thankful for that.
For many, those may be difficult words to hear right now. Lots of people are struggling to find something for which to be thankful today. Many won’t succeed. Worn down by the pandemic and all its trials, frustration and anger are more common than satisfaction and joy. And the world seems to continue to spiral through one catastrophe after another. We can’t just ignore all that and try to be thankful that we’re alive, can we?
No. But we can embrace it and be thankful.
Look for goodness, look for kindness and love, look for things which bring pleasure and joy, but don’t be afraid to engage everything that comes with it. We find wholeness in embracing the whole, not in excluding things from it.
This is how Jesus showed us to live. Jesus, who was also fond of reminding people to not be afraid because God’s with them. Because God’s in all things.
Long before Jesus, the prophet Joel had the same words for the earth itself. After suffering great devastation, Joel proclaims hope: Don’t be afraid, O land, be glad because God is with you. (Joel 2:21-27) The source of life, energy of creation is there. Embrace it.
Be thankful for the interconnectedness of creation. Be thankful for the whole, with all its flaws and weaknesses, its grief and hurts, its struggles and satisfactions, its joys and happiness. Be thankful for its fullness of divine spirit and human heart. That’s the fullness of life.