Yeah, it's been a brutal year. As we post this announcement, we are witnessing exponential growth in COVID-19 infections across our nation and governors everywhere—our own included—are implementing new restrictions on gatherings and activities to slow the spread. Consequently, many of us won't be traveling or spending the holiday in-person with extended family and friends. Some will be alone.
When imprisoned in Rome, the Apostle Paul wrote, "… be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 5:18b-20, NRSV). Paul also declared, "I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:12-13, NRSV).
For Paul, a spirit of thankfulness made all the difference. He recognized that nothing turns us into bitter, selfish, dissatisfied people more quickly than an ungrateful heart. Such a heart is cold toward God and indifferent to God's mercy and love. It is a heart that has forgotten how dependent we are on God for everything. And nothing does more to restore contentment and the joy within us than a spirit of thankfulness.
So, despite the circumstances, we will give thanks and invite you to join in the thanksgiving on the eve of Thanksgiving Day.