A Message From Pastor Margaret
Thanksgiving in new ways…
As I was cutting some end-of-season twigs
the last few days to add to my fall
arrangements, it felt so good to be
reminded of what we did this time last
year, and the previous years during
Thanksgiving. I was thinking about the
warmth and wonderful aromas as we
stood around, chatting, and laughing in
the kitchen or dining room of our extended
family members and friends, and hearing
the screaming voices of little ones as they
enjoyed each other’s companies. These
are memories to treasure and to be
grateful for, memories that are important as
we navigate our time with loved ones
during this pandemic.
We all have done our best this year to be there for one another, our immediate families, the young, the elderly, our neighbors, and being in touch with those far from us. We have found new ways to communicate with one another, and life has taken on a new meaning. There is preciousness about life during a time like this. We love and appreciate one another even more, and we are mindful of the losses we and many others have experienced in different ways.
As I am reflecting on these realities we are facing, I am beginning to relax in the knowledge that Thanksgiving could be celebrated in new ways. It will be different, and many of us are beginning to think about creative ways to “be together." The gatherings will be smaller, and, while we may be saddened by that fact, it may bring with it a different kind of intimacy with those whom we are with, a gratefulness to be together and for what we have.
I am also reminded of the many times Jesus Himself went into isolation, away from the crowds, sometimes with His disciples, and sometimes He sent them away. Apart from praying and spending time with God, I am wondering what else He did, while being on His own. I can imagine Him looking around and enjoying the beauty of His surroundings, enjoying the little things, while recuperating and taking time for Himself. We know that at times He encountered someone who needed His help, for example the Samaritan woman who saw Him at the well, and they started an amazing conversation. He, in His recuperated state would have enough to give to someone on His journey. His isolation was of course His own decision to make, and part of His journey and purpose.
Jesus’ self-isolation makes me feel that He understands what we are going through. It makes me feel that He is in solidarity with us, knowing exactly what every human being is going through during this pandemic, how everyone is trying to make things work during a time like this. In His isolation, He needed God to give Him wisdom for His next journey, what to say, how to act. So, He prayed and found His strength to carry on. His life could not have been very attractive, full of earthly joys and pleasures such as shopping and all the good things we are used to, but His life in isolation gave Him a heavenly riches that kept Him nourished on a deep spiritual level.
It feels encouraging to know we have Christ with us, during times of loneliness and the many challenges we face. I also feel encouraged that, while Thanksgiving will be different from previous years for many
of us, it can be celebrated in new ways. So, maybe we are given the opportunity to gather a few extra dried twigs, and a be a little more creative with our fall arrangements and extra baked pies and make
that phone or video call to someone whom we haven’t talked with in a while. We will still enjoy the warmth and beautiful aromas of baked pies and turkey, and the screaming voices of children playing in the neighborhood. Finally, maybe we are given this opportunity to spend a little extra time with God, to strengthen our hearts and souls for our journeys on this earth.
Blessings to all of you during this month of Thanksgiving!
Pastor Margaret Keyser