As we enter the holiday season, expectations are high for a cozy and festive time, yet all the busyness of preparations and the overlay of the continuing pandemic season finds many feeling a bit stressed or overwhelmed, sometimes struggling to keep spirits high.
Harvard Medical School has done research that shows how something that is at the heart of Thanksgiving can help us in weathering and enjoying the holidays, the very act of giving thanks. Having a practice of taking time daily to be grateful for life’s gifts, its researchers have found, “helps people feel happier, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
This year, there is much for which we can give thanks. We’re grateful for this Thanksgiving that (unlike last year’s) has allowed more chance to gather with loved ones. After a season of so much separation, we don’t take for granted the gifts of family, both given and chosen. We’re thankful for the vaccines and treatments that researchers have developed that are beginning to restore life to more usual patterns, and to the medical workers and caregivers who have given so much to those whose lives have been most deeply touched by the pandemic.
I’m thankful to all of you who call our church home, and for the encouragement that we’re giving one another and those in need in our community through these days.
This Sunday, as we turn to the Advent season of preparing for Christmas, we give thanks to God for the gift of the Christ Child, born, as the old carol says, “amid the cold of winter when half spent was the night.”
I hope you will join us in worship, in person or online, as we see the first Advent candle lit, and call to mind the One who came as light in our darkness.
Wishing you the blessings of Advent,