I thought a lot about gratitude during the 2020 challenging year. I had a conversation (virtually, of course!) early in the pandemic with a group of women from my congregation. Somehow, we began talking about the blessings of the pandemic—the gift of being able (being forced to) stay at home, the gift of time, the gift of baking, the gift of taking walks outside, the gift of technology.
To name a blessing—to be thankful for anything during this pandemic—felt like a burden for one woman. For her, the pandemic did nothing more than intensify her feelings of loneliness and isolation. Being unable to recognize a blessing made her feel guilty.
Did she wonder if Paul’s encouragement to the Thessalonians to “give thanks in all circumstances” was a command to be thankful—or else—rather than an invitation to take inventory of what we have? At what points in your life has gratitude felt like a burden?
This message is an excerpt from “Faith Reflections: Reclaiming gratitude” by Emily K. Hartner in the November 2020 issue of Boldcafe.