God remains with us
November 25, 2021
Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One …
The children practiced their song repeatedly in the fellowship hall. The adults, gathered in the kitchen assembling Thanksgiving food baskets, didn’t mind listening to them. It had been a while since the struggling church heard children’s voices within its walls. The sound not only brought smiles to wrinkled faces, but a few tears as well to cataract eyes.
Give thanks with a grateful heart …
Today as families and friends gather around the holiday table filled with food wafting with the scent of nostalgia, they will pause to give thanks. Perhaps some will be thankful that they are able to gather safely enjoy a boisterous Thanksgiving meal that didn’t happen in 2020, due to COVID-19. Perhaps some will be grateful that they were able to find the ingredients needed for Grandma’s special stuffing, considering a breakdown in supply chains that have led to bare shelves. Perhaps some will be praising God that a loved one is with them after facing a life-threatening illness.
But perhaps, too, there are those whose Thanksgiving will not be reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell painting. There are those this day who are sitting down to a meager meal, those watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade alone, and those whose eyes gaze longingly at the now-empty chair.
In our lives there are seasons of plenty and seasons of want. There are Thanksgivings when children’s voices fill the air of an aging church. There are Thanksgivings where their voices are nowhere to be heard. There are holidays where laughter and food abound. Then there are holidays where both seem scarce. I have had Thanksgivings of both plenty and want and I know personally how hard it is to be thankful when everything seems to be falling apart. Yet, even in our darkest times, we are to remember to whisper our broken “thank yous,” for God is not done with us nor has God ever forgotten us.
The apostle Paul once said, “I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need.” And that secret was that no matter what life brought, Paul knew he could count on God to give him strength.
In plenty and in want, no matter what this day is like for you and your family, remember that God is with you, providing the strength you need — always.
Donna Frischknecht Jackson lives in rural Vermont where she is a part-time rural pastor and editor of Presbyterians Today
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Thursday, November 25, 2021, Thanksgiving Day (Year B)
First Reading Joel 2:21-27
Second Reading 1 Timothy 2:1-7
Gospel Matthew 6:25-33
Today’s Focus: Giving thanks
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Alicia DeMartra-Pressley, Administrative Assistant, Vital Congregations, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Sheldon Dennis, Vice President, Human Resources, Board of Pensions
Let us pray
God of bounteous grace, we thank you for your steadfast love that sustains and strengthens us. May we remember to sing your praises always: on days where our tears are filled with joy and when they are filled with grief; when our tables are full and when they are scarce; and when loved ones and friends are near and when they are far. We lift this prayer, in the name of your Son Jesus. Amen.