It was wonderful to sing songs of thanksgiving to God this past Sunday. Great to celebrate communion together, to give thanks (which is the meaning of the word eucharist) to the Lord for his amazing gift of love to us. It was also great to talk more about growing the discipline of thanksgiving at sermon discussion group. We also had a great gathering of area churches for our community Thanksgiving service.
But still, some of you might be feeling like this quote that I got from a friend of a friend:
It’s great to see all your “thankful” posts as we march toward the holidays.
However, I’m reminded that in the midst of all these posts about what we are thankful for, there are some among us who feel pain stronger than their thankfulness. Those who’ve lost loved ones close to them… people who celebrated these holidays with them last year or the year before that. Our family lost a friend and neighbor this year and know others who may be headed into their final holiday season this year. There are those who have families that are broken and dysfunctional, for whom this season is full of stress and heartache. If that is part of your story this year, know that we are with you and that it is okay to feel sad when everyone else seems to be rejoicing.
There are also those who feel unable to participate in all the ‘festivities’ because of the pressure to spend, spend, spend, and consume, consume, consume. For those without means, the ‘gift-giving’ season is just another reminder of what they do not have and cannot provide. My family is fortunate to have the means by which we can participate in the gift economy this year. However, we know plenty of people who struggle to pay their bills every month and for whom the idea of spending any money at all on gifts is out of the question. Do not feel ashamed or inadequate. We are with you.
There is much we can all be thankful for, but thankfulness doesn’t always erase all the pain. If you are hurting, my prayers are with you and for you. I am thankful for you.
Does that resonate with you? What will you do to cultivate the discipline of thankfulness?