This has long been my family’s favorite holiday (and honestly, even though it will only be the second time ever that we celebrate with just our kids, and this time only 2/3 of them, it’s still my favorite).
This year has been about stripping us down to what matters most. We were stripped of busyness, entertainment, even companionship. And I won’t pretend that community isn’t a need. Reflecting on the origins of Thanksgiving, it was about the harvest, and about the dependent gratefulness that the Pilgrims felt towards the Native Americans, as far as I understand.
But this year many of us are navigating a lonely Thanksgiving.
I opened this blog this morning to remind us of what really matters. Thanks-giving. Giving thanks. At the core, this is my favorite holiday, because it is a celebration of the greatest despondence-crushing, pessimism-overturning, inward-turning (which is really a self-sabotaging) remedy of all- The Giving of Thanks!
Because of Who my God is (sovereign, triumphant, good, gracious, kind, tender, just, merciful, mighty, lovely…) I can give thanks under all circumstances. Pandemic? Laugh in it’s face, and tell God “thanks”! Health crisis (and the waiting period to find out if I need heart surgery)? Ha! I know my God is working all things out for my good and His’ glory! Loneliness? God is near to the brokenhearted and downcast!
If we drag any of our struggles and plights out into the brilliant Light of the Most High, suddenly they twinkle like diamonds in the sand. Life may be laden with hardships, this year more than ever, but though circumstances change, God never does. He is the same glory and goodness that He’s been every other year.
This year, even though the celebrations may feel pared down to almost nothing, Thanksgiving can be celebrated all the more, because now we don’t have as much chaos and food-comatose to distract us from the core of what matters.
One more thought, I think the longing is supposed to teach us something, as well. The original thanksgiving was about the harvest AND community, and I’m willing to bet those of us who are staying home for Thanksgiving are missing family and friends more than food. This is holy and good. Don’t try to sedate or deny the longing part of your heart until it dies of apathy.
P.S. If you aren’t with them, don’t forget to call your folks!