On this Wednesday before Thanksgiving, its appropriate to talk about what we’re thankful for. Its a strange time, and may seem difficult to find things to be thankful for. Of course there really are innumerable things we should be thankful for. Because of the current climate with Covid-19 and all the attending protocols for social distancing, sanitizing, mask wearing, it might cloud our thinking when it comes to giving thanks.
I’m going to make a statement that you are going to read as kind of strange, and possibly a little horrifying. Here goes, “I’m thankful for the pandemic.” There, I said it. Now, before you get up in arms, and go on a bender about how dare you be thankful for this tragic outbreak that has caused so much misery and death, let me explain.
I’m not actually thankful for the Coronavirus making people sick, separating families, causing death and misery. The effects of the pandemic I’m thankful for have more to do with how it has changed the way many of us conduct ourselves.
Before the pandemic, so many of us felt like we were so busy, so pressed for time, so weighed down by our schedules and concerns. We didn’t “have” time for some of the simpler and deeper aspects of our human experience. I have placed the word have in quotation marks because I really mean to say, we didn’t make time.
Because of the change in our behavior due to the Coronavirus, we have a much different perspective on what’s important and how we go about our daily lives. Many of us have picked up new skill sets, new understandings of what’s important. For many, there has been a new found appreciation for cooking at home. Trying new foods, and improving on routine meal preparation. This leads to a different family dynamic. Maybe more people involved in preparing meals, and cleaning up afterward. This is a simple thing, and yet such rewarding experience. It allows for lots of interaction and improved relationship with each other.
Before the pandemic, many probably felt they barely had time for themselves outside of work and the other pressures we heap upon ourselves. Now that we find ourselves at home more, we have learned new ways of entertaining ourselves. Maybe new hobbies like sewing, or quilt-making, or woodworking, or reading. Any number of activities we had not previously engaged because our schedules were so full.
Prior to Covid-19, we possibly gave scant attention to our spiritual lives, going through the perfunctory Sunday worship without much thought. It was quite possibly a rote exercise. If we prayed at all, it was a quick out the door prayer like, “God, be with me today,” or “Thank you God for everything.” Now, we have the time for deep reflection, we have the time to sit quietly and listen to God. Our relationship with God has the potential to be closer, deeper, and more fulfilling.
God didn’t cause the pandemic, God didn’t cause the sickness and death. God does however, act in those spaces to use what’s happening to draw us closer to the Divine presence in each of us. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” This time we are going through has provided us the perfect opportunity to do exactly that. We have the time to be still, we have the time to truly get to know God. We have the time to let God speak to us and guide us to a deeper and more fulfilling relationship.
I’m thankful for all that God has provided us in this season of our living. And I am thankful for all of you. God has deepened my relationship with God, and God has placed a longing in my heart to love each of you more deeply than I could have ever imagined. Our God is great, and greatly to be praised. My hope and prayer for you this Thanksgiving week is, God will protect you and pour out God’s love on you in myriad ways. I want you to know I will be giving thanks for each of you in my prayers on tomorrow. I will be telling God how grateful I am for you being a part of my life. “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you his peace.”
Your fellow traveler on The Way,