Thanksgiving 2020

Well, this pandemic just keeps presenting one challenge after another, and one
loss after another, doesn’t it? As with so many other aspects of our lives,
Thanksgiving this year is going to look differently for all of us too. In the midst of
the anxiety, and concern, and uncertainty, some may wonder for what will we
express gratitude this year?
I have long believed that challenges are also full of opportunities. I think often of
the creativity that has come forth from people during the lockdown, and then as
our countries and economies take steps toward re-opening. I had never before,
for example, heard of nor participated in a birthday parade before Covid. I have now. Some of the new
restrictions in grocery stores, I don’t mind. As a church, we have for years been talking about
expanding our on-line presence beyond only our website - we have now done so, thanks to Shwetha’s
endless dedication and willingness to learn entirely new-to-us technologies. I have seen spectacular
on-line choirs, and musicians. I look at our own dedicated choir members, and what Rob - our director
of music and organist whom many of you have not yet had the chance to meet - have been able to
present week after week in ways that were unimaginable to us, even, back in February, or early March.
Sandra, in our office, and parish volunteers, have developed entirely new-to-us ways of keeping in
touch with one another, and addressing people’s needs as they become known. We have made
emergency food deliveries, countless hours on the phone, or face-time, with folks who are struggling
with loneliness, depression, or anxiety. Kate Ann and Caroll through summer put great energy and
creativity into children’s programming for our videos. There is so much creativity. These are some of
the opportunities that are hidden in this immense challenge, and these are also things for which I am
thankful.
But there’s more. I am thankful for our doctors and researchers and nurses who at breakneck
speed are bettering and developing treatments for this dreadful disease. I am thankful that, through no
merit or work of my own, I live in a country that had the ability to support people financially throughout
the shut-down. I am thankful the numbers in our area have so far been pretty good. I am thankful our
food supply has remained pretty good, and the summer was a great year for vegetable gardens, (my
lack of green thumbs notwithstanding). I am thankful I have water to drink. I am thankful we can
continue to meet with one another outside, maintaining vigilance in our infection control safeguards. I
am thankful for the lives, and witness of those members of our Church family we have sadly lost during
this time. I am thankful the earth, and the air, and the water, and wildlife, got a little bit of a restorative
break around the world during shut-downs. There is so much for which to be thankful, even at a time
like this.
I believe a rootedness in gratitude is even more essential at a time like that through which we
are living. Akin to a regular prayer life, it is a sure antidote to negativity and pessimism. Can you
imagine the immensity of our gratitude when a safe and effective vaccine is found, assuming one is
found? Can you imagine our gratitude when we can walk into a grocery store without a mask, or the
requirement of social distancing. Can you imagine our gratitude when families currently isolating out of
necessity, can hug again, or see grandparents or grandchildren again? In person! Can you imagine
our gratitude when we can receive Eucharist again, unhindered in any way?
So maybe in the short term, we let creativity rip! Indefatigably mining the depths of creativity to
continue to be a blessing to the lives of those around us - our neighbours, our families, even those we
don’t personally know, but whom we know to be struggling. This Thanksgiving will indeed be different.
Maybe sometimes, different isn’t such a bad thing if our souls can remain open.
Your brother in Christ, Brad