This is a personal reflection arising from reading, thoughts, and discussion arising from a Sunday morning discussion group.
1. It seems to me that we as a people have an innate desire to acknowledge, and give thanks, to one greater than ourselves, whether we be Christian, Muslims, Hindus, or otherwise. Life itself is a gift. Health, Family, Friends, adequate shelter and food, are not guaranteed. End of year harvest celebrations are practiced around the world.
2. Thanksgiving as a social and cultural event is never a pure experience of thanks. It is always experienced within the context of social, political, and economic issues.
3. Many of the historical experiences of thanksgiving are based on some event of survival or success in the face of famine or war. Even the Thanksgiving celebration of I Chronicles 16: 7-43 was based on the return of the Ark of Covenant. Thanksgiving is not always because something good or righteous was done or experienced.
4. What gives meaning to the Celebration of Thanksgiving are the traditions and practices we embrace: Examples are, voluntary food delivery, writing or stating what we are thankful for, inviting strangers and neighbors to our thanksgiving table, reconnecting with loved ones, eating well, games, fun, and the list goes on. Be intentional.
5. Communion and the Eucharist are acts of remembering which in turn are acts of thanksgiving[LH1] .
6. Thanksgiving can be both private and public but is so much more when experienced and practiced as a community of people.
7. Covid19 is forcing us to isolate and social distance ourselves such that we can, if we desire to do so, have a hard and clear look at who we are as a people. It has exposed our selfishness, our prideful independence, and disregard for caring for others (eg. Refusing to wear masks in public). It has also demonstrated great caring and compassion among our front-line care givers.
8. When we cannot think of anything to give thanks for, we respond in a spirit of Sacrifice of Praise, that is, we still give thanks to our creator, although we do not understand. With that attitude we can face anything.
9. Covid19 has caused us to slow down, to move toward one on one relationships, that life and health are indeed gifts of grace that without notice can be taken away. It is reminding us to give thanks for the people in our lives that are really important, to affirm them right now.
10. Covid19 has demonstrated to us that as a society we value our individualistic personal freedom more than the common safety and welfare of others. What value is freedom if not to serve others? I would guess that most of us would agree with that statement but few of us practice it as we should.
11. Covid19 has taught us not to trust government and hence, not to trust ourselves.
12. Attributes of Thanksgiving in scripture are remembering, singing and being joyful, knowing His name, keeping promises and covenants, God is great, God is love, God is good!
Have a meaningful, thankful week of powerful and impactful relationships and remember the Creator who gave all of us life. Best…Always, Lou