by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro
THANKSGIVING 2020: We move from one season to the next. This year. Next year. Today. Tomorrow. For whatever the number of days which we are given. None of us knowing what those days will look like. Goodness the way we define goodness has never been guaranteed. Never. Every generation before has endured some sort of suffering, which certainly was not on their agenda, nor planned. The question is how we will each choose to respond and how will we eventually emerge from the aspects of this season which are hard. It will change us. As in all difficulties, though not sent from heaven, God will use it as part of how He molds us. If we will choose to cooperate.
Thanksgiving is a scheduled pause. Thanksgiving has never been about a meal. It has never even been about those with whom we like to gather. It has always been about giving thanks to God during life’s challenges.
Those who celebrated the first Thanksgiving which we have now over-romanticized, did not have it easy. They had come through a horrific winter with terrible losses to illness. They were indeed isolated an ocean away from everything they knew. They were dealing and not always dealing well or fairly with the native peoples who were already long living on the land we now call the United States. There was grief and uncertainty and hardship which surrounded this choice in their imperfections to stop and give thanks to God. To consciously put themselves under Him.
It is extreme opportunity to be able to do Thanksgiving differently this year. To choose to not gather as we have done in the past. To stay more isolated–not because we are afraid or love less, but out of consideration for others. For the unseen contamination we may carry which we cannot see. And in this different time where we consciously choose less busyness, perhaps then we can indeed reflect on God and His very real place in our lives–which will not always look like the blessing we thought we sought.
Holy One, You caused us to be alive in this moment for such a time as this. Keep our eyes steady on You. Help worry and fear to fall to the ground as we come to rest once again in Your sovereignty. This world is passing away and so is each one of us. But this passing–if we will turn, see, recognize and bow to You–is the beginning of all that is to come. For in You, through You and by You, death is leading unto true life. For now, yes, for now, You call us to serve You in the midst and to be that love and mercy to the One You allow to be next to us. With You help let there be only consideration and kindness, caring and respect and appreciation between each other. Help us be so activated into Your Service, Lord, that we dare to be aware so that when You show us another suffering, we are willing and ready for You to give us what to do to help in practical and not just prayerful ways. Holy Spirit, You know what each one needs. Lead us onward to serve one another in Your love. Holy Spirit, You know what each of us is to do and what each is not to do. Help us to hear Your voice. God. Please do bless us every one. Please make Your face shine upon us, be gracious to us and in this hour especially, have mercy on us. Relieve suffering. Stop illness. Comfort and comfort more those who mourn. Relieve injustice–and not just spiritually, but practically. And use us as Your instruments to accomplish Your purposes. We so long to be an authentic nation under You and this done more by how we each choose to be to the one next to us more than anything else. Holy Spirit, we need You. Lead on.
Prayed this day of our Lord, 26 November 2020 in the name of the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
CHECK OUT: ONLY JESUS REMAINS–Reflections for Hurting Hearts at Christmas. Book excerpts posted as blog posts Oct 22 through Jan 6