I suspect I can safely say that, back in March, we never imagined we would be making alternative plans for our Thanksgiving gatherings. Yet, here we are, making alternative plans for our Thanksgiving gatherings…if we gather at all. I have absolutely no idea where I will be, with whom, or what I will be doing on the fourth Thursday in November, 2020. True to form for the year. In conventional times, I could expect to be home in Ohio with most if not all of my immediate family. Not likely to be the case this year. My kiddies’ lives continue to evolve, so I’m not sure how many would be in Xenia even without Covid-19. Now??? I know I don’t inhabit this uncertain space by myself. Even Dr. Anthony Fauci’s daughters informed him that they don’t plan to visit on Thanksgiving. We are all in this together, like it or not. NOT!!

I encourage us to remember the sights and sounds and smells of this season just the same. We may have to survive this year on those imaginings. Just undertaking the exercise of mindfulness can spread a balm over our wounded souls. And it’s OK to admit that we are grieving; some more, some less, but grieving just the same. Truth is, no matter how many happy faces I include in my own personal history, the yeah, but blue moments pop up in the most unexpected ways. Not many for me, but a few. More for some of you. We acknowledge in our communal life that not all is peachy-keen for all of us; and certainly not for our world. We ALL wait with bated breath (literally, in some close quarters) for the next bit of good news. We’ve been waiting since March!! Remember how we thought we would be back in the Sanctuary by Easter?!?

We really need Thanksgiving! We may have to rely on recalling Thanksgivings-past.

I do not utter this next phrase with pumpkin-pie-in-the-sky lightness. Rather with rainbow-after-the-flood hope. We will get through this! I trust that cooler and wiser heads will prevail on the grand decision-making front; that science will be respected; that the round-the-clock research sessions going on in various places right now will succeed. They will; I know it!! We’ve gone a bit backward, as the good Dr. Fauci warned we would. But we will go forward in time. I’m bearhugging that hope for all it’s worth. Whatever Thanksgiving becomes for me this year, I am going to give thanks for it, even if I only remember bygone Thanksgivings and hope for ones yet to come. In one small, unintended way, I agree with a thought the present occupant of the Oval Office shared a while back: I will not let this moment dominate me! The figurative jury is still out and I could die of Covid-19. That destructive little bug may take away my breath; but it will not drain my soul. AND I will wear my mask, socially-distance, and wash layers of skin off my hands in the meantime.

The apostle Paul gets the last word: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)

Amen!