As we move toward the end of one of the most tumultuous years in recent (or maybe even ancient) history, it’s tough to approach the fast-approaching holiday season with the usual attitude of joy, celebration and thanksgiving.
For more than 207,000 American families, this holiday will be short a member thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Our economy is in turmoil, Congress can’t seem to get its act together to provide relief, thousands of small businesses have already gone under, and thousands more are threatened. And now, the president and first lady have tested positive for COVID-19.
I’m thinking that we’ve never needed to hear the message of the season more than we do this year. Given that, let’s examine what we have to be thankful for in the midst of turmoil.
I am thankful that my children and grandchildren are nearby and that, so far, all of us are healthy.
I am thankful that I have a life partner who loves me in spite of my flaws.
I am thankful that two of my siblings have moved to Wichita, and I now get to spend time with them after seeing them only a couple of times a year for most of my adult life.
I am thankful for decades of happy memories of this season with friends and family even though this may not be a year that we get to gather our big, extended family to celebrate.
I am thankful for digital photography.
I am thankful for stem cell regenerative care for my arthritic knees, and thankful I can now walk and climb stairs without pain.
I am thankful for plentiful food and for those who work to provide it.
I am thankful for the rain that has seemed to arrive just in time to bring a bumper harvest of corn and soybeans, and thankful for the green shoots of wheat beginning to appear in fields around the state.
I am thankful for the new blooms on my tomato plants that promise I’ll have more to harvest before frost — or perhaps just a handful of still-green tomatoes to make relish.
I am thankful for the cool breeze and the warm sunshine.
I am thankful for mums and the bursts of color they bring to fall.
I am thankful for Zoom and Slack and Teams.
I am thankful for the hope that is inherent in this season; the promise of the birth of a Savior.
I am thankful that God is in his heaven and, even though this chaos doesn’t make sense to me, it is his will for this nation to undergo this trial, and someday we will understand.