This Thanksgiving, Chad and I are drove up to Massachusetts to spend the holiday with family. This afternoon, we’ll fill our plates with turkey and stuffing, Brussels sprouts and rolls, and so many other delicious foods. We’ll top the meal off with the sweetness of pie. Around the table, we’ll have Chad’s mom and siblings and their spouses and children, including one brand new baby, born in September and having her first Thanksgiving. Back home in New Jersey, my side of the family will also be enjoying delicious food in a beautiful home, with even more siblings and little ones. We’ll all be safe and warm and full and loved. There is so much to be grateful for.
And we should be thankful. Oh, how we should be thankful, and let that thankfulness overflow. There is so much in the world for which we have to work and advocate and stand up for, too. My prayer is that our gratefulness will drive us toward more compassion, more mercy, more understanding. My prayer is that in our comfort, we will resist complacency, resist the urge to stay inside where it is safe and close. My prayer is that in our gratefulness, we will strive for service and sharing. Because we have so much to share, not the least of all love and a space at the table.
When I look back at the past couple months, I think, where did fall go? It got lost somewhere in the election and the never-ending news cycle and the fighting. For many of us, the second Tuesday of November brought heartache and disillusionment and just utter grief. So by the fourth Thursday, we need warmth and care and hope. We need the light that is coming with the promise of the holidays, the promise of a baby born to save us all from the harshness of the world. And where there isn’t already light, we need to bring it for those who are scared and hurting and uncertain.
I know God is in control. I know he always has been and always will be, but I also know that we do on this earth matters greatly, to him and to those around us. Just because God is in control doesn’t mean people do not and will not suffer on earth, and that’s what I am worried about this holiday season. While we can have hope because he is in control, it matters what happened in this election, especially to the people who were left out, alienated, and abused by what this president-elect has said and how the country has reacted. As we celebrate and feast and laugh and love, I pray we remember that there is work to do today and tomorrow and the next day to make sure that all people feel valued and respected and loved and included.
Happy Thanksgiving. There is so much to be grateful for and so much work to do.