Yesterday was the last Sunday of the liturgical year and this Thursday is the American holiday of Thanksgiving. Which often means an opportunity to look back over the past twelve months and celebrate those things we are thankful for.
Though in the up and down world of 2020, it might seem like it would be a challenge to find things to be thankful for. It has been over eight months since my family has eaten in a restaurant or seen grandparents / aunts / uncles / cousins in person; months since we entered a building without a mask; and hand sanitizer is our family’s official scent of 2020.
Yet, there are so many things to be thankful for even in the uncertain times of this year. Just a few of the things that I am thankful for are (cue Julie Andrews singing “These are a Few of My Favorite Things”):
My family who has probably seen more of each other in the past eight months than all the previous years combined.
Medical, public health, and scientific professionals who have given so much to care for all of us, treat those who are sick, and protect those at risk.
Those who have seen hurts and wrongs in our society and are working to bring healing to a broken world.
Colleagues who have come together as a team in large and small ways to provide resources and connection when we are not able to be together.
All those who have found creative ways to adapt and move forward by teaching school or worshipping via Zoom; or visiting family through storm doors and closed windows; or anonymously sending puzzles and gifts to someone.
Instead of 2020 being a lost year with nothing to be thankful for or the year that nothing happened, this year has become the year that we tried new things and went in new directions. We have experimented with different ways of being together and lived out what we have often said . . . the church is not a building or a worship service, the church is the people of God moving beyond a fixed physical location to worship and serve the Lord as well as their neighbors.
With all the new things we have done in 2020, I am looking forward to all the amazing things we will experience and try in the year to come. There is no perfect road map to success, but 2020 has shown us that even without this we can grow, adapt, and move forward. So let us:
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come into his presence with singing.
Know that the LORD is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.
For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures for ever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
- Psalm 100:1-5 (NRSV)
May you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving as well as experience the peace of Christ. Grace and peace, Bill Rev. William "Bill" McLean, II Presbyter for Congregational Care Presbytery of Southeastern Illinois