Here we are again at the beginning of the holiday season. This week everyone is asking “What are you thankful for?” You will hear that on news shows, talk shows, and even a few specials like “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.”
So, I want to share with you what I am really thankful for. I am thankful that I have things to be thankful for.
I was in 6th grade when I learned that the world is not always happy around the holidays. President Kennedy had been shot less than a week before Thanksgiving 1963. Life came to a standstill in grief and shock. Yet in the midst of that horror, we still had things to be thankful for—like family, friends, and most of all God’s never-ending love.
I learned as a child that life does not magically become better because Thanksgiving is here and Christmas is coming.
The world is in a state of fear and chaos. Some people are mourning their loved ones who have died in recent attacks around the world. In Minneapolis, a family buried a loved one who was killed during an encounter with the police.
We will have holes at our Thanksgiving tables that can never be filled. Some people will gather with family and friends for a large dinner. Some will help at food kitchens, serving those who have no special place to go. Some might be home alone eating a frozen turkey dinner.
But here’s a secret: We still have much to be thankful for. God’s grace and love fill the world every day—not just on the holidays—giving us hope in dark times, in lonely times, in times we don’t know what to hope for.
Sometimes when you have to look deep inside trying to find one thing to be thankful for, you find many. We are blessed. So stop, give God thanks, share a smile with a stranger, and be joy-filled. Happy Thanksgiving.
Nancy Giddings served on the churchwide executive board (2014-2017) when she wrote this piece in November 2015. Nancy lived into her baptismal promise on March 28, 2020. She will be greatly missed at the holiday table this year.