The secular holiday season is about to begin. Thanksgiving, though late this year, is finally arriving. And with that arrival, we are all planning meals, trips, conversation topics and the keeping of family traditions. I have to admit that I love hearing people and families plan how they will keep their traditions this year. It’s a reminder for me that clergy aren’t the only ones who fret whether the yearly celebrations will be just as good as everyone hopes they will be.
I hope that your gatherings, whether with family, or friends, or in service to others, or in whatever form Thanksgiving takes for you this year, will be filled with the things you treasure. For those who may experience disappointment or loneliness this year, may God be close to you, and may that closeness be communicated in some small loving way.
With Thanksgiving, we are making our way into Advent as well. There are number of ways to keep Advent as a part of the journey to the majestic twelve days of Christmas. Would you consider being as intentional about Advent as you are being right now about Thanksgiving? The good news is that you don’t have to pack an entire lifetime’s worth of memories into one meal with Advent like we often try to do on Thanksgiving. You have weeks to remember, to dwell, to pray and to rejoice at the promises God has made to us and how God kept those promises in the appearance of Jesus in a small town in Israel.
There are resources online, and there are probably some good suggestions in your congregation’s library, or in the memory of your fellow Episcopalians. You might ask them about those. You might even, if conversation starts to lag at the Thanksgiving table, ask people about their favorite parts of preparing for Christmas, their favorite Advent customs. (That’s my plan if we run out of things to talk about at May House next week…)
No matter what though, may you have a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving. May God gift you with all the quiet joy of Advent in these next weeks.
God bless you all!