It struck me anew this week how the Gregorian calendar places our season of Thanksgiving immediately prior to our season of Advent. Thanksgiving- a time of offering gratitude- eucharisteo, a word tracing back to a root of kharis- Grace. It is only by grace we enter into the Eucharist- communion with Jesus- and from which we are filled to an overflow of gratitude. A circle of grace, a cycle of thanksgiving, rolling into a time of stillness and waiting- the days of Advent.
If we work from a place of rest, isn’t it also true we wait from a place of grace-full thanksgiving? Gratitude our tool of survival through the dark night of Advent’s waiting.
So what does that look like today, as we gather in joyful abundance? As we sit around tables of full plates, of full hearts, may we take stock of the grace as well as the aching wait seated on either side of us. May we toast to God’s goodness each one gathered has tasted of this year- the new marriage, the beloved baby, the provisions covering each home. May we celebrate the gifts of laughter and friendship- remembering fondly the days spent sowing into one another’s lives. May we look into the eyes of those around our table and recall the beauty of their days, giving a glimpse of God’s perspective over each of his kids.
And in the midst of offering our thanksgiving, may we also recognize with reverence the pain of the wait within every soul. The one waiting on love, the one aching for a child to hold, the ones awaiting healing, the ones desperately holding on for the forgiveness of another. May we recognize the strength of our kindred as they show up every day in hope for their own personal miracle. May we call it out and toast also to the desert’s journey- the waiting for our Savior’s rescue.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends. I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to walk this paradoxical road Home with you. Thank you for your kindness to me, your generosity of words and time- your forgiveness and mercy when I have offended or hurt you, thank you for teaching me, inspiring me and showing me the tangible kharis of Jesus. In gratitude and in the wondrous wait, my cup overflows.