I often find myself approaching Thanksgiving with a focus on two streams of thought. One is a heightened awareness of the struggles of people on my mind. The other is global concerns, and a sense of gratitude for what is right in the world. Those two things often connect powerfully.
For example we are all more aware than we have been at any time in the past, of the climate crisis. It is affecting the decisions of municipalities all over Nova Scotia just as it affects everything we see on the geopolitical scene. The burning of rainforest in Brazil, the loss of primal habitat in the sub-Sahara, or the challenge of holding our own country of Canada accountable for its climate commitments.
On the other hand, we see prophets and heroes along the entire length of that spectrum. Students in the HRM going on school strikes to make leadership aware of what is being demanded by our young people to protect their future. Right on up to heroes who are literally taking on the planet for accountability, like Greta Thunberg. And so I am so deeply thankful for the evolving awareness of humanity as we look at each crisis and respond. Just as I am profoundly thankful for each person who understands the change we each need to make on a personal level, and engages in that.
While that is the most critical and dominant thing that engages my own sense of thankfulness, there are many other things too. I am thankful on the level of my very soul, for the people I love, and those who give me love. Family and friends. People I am with each day in the sharing of life’s journey. I am especially aware of just how many organizations and people and hands are hard at work trying to provide for or take care of people who face Thanksgiving with hardship. Whether it’s company for those who must go through Thanksgiving without someone who they love, or those who are stocking the food bank shelves or cooking for someone who for any of so many possible reasons is unable. And of course I am always so very thankful for our church, Saint Andrew’s. Thankful for a place where every kind of person, with every kind of joy or sorrow, know they have a place on Thanksgiving Sunday to come and be strengthened. Or just to be surrounded by others for nothing more than a knowing look, a smile, hug, and a sense of the closeness of God.
So that was my long list of thankfulness. What is yours? What are you aware of? What do you struggle with? What gives you hope? What are the simplest of things that you feel thankful for? And also, what are you not thankful for? That is incredibly important too. It’s important to know that there are things on your mind or in your life that you are definitely not OK with, and to bring all of them to God.
I wish you a meaningful Thanksgiving. May you encounter the closeness of God; in whatever way that connection comes. And may you feel strengthened and renewed in mind, body, heart and soul.
The Rev’d Mark Pretty