This brief passage from Job sounds encouraging and optimistic, but it is surrounded by words of lament. Sometimes, life is like that. We struggle to hope in the midst of troubling and heartbreaking times. This is especially true when we experience personal tragedy and loss of loved ones. The holiday season can take a particular toll on our emotions.
That’s part of the timing of our Griefshare Ministry—to provide a safe space to express the range of emotions we experience in grief. Thanksgiving, the holiday, reminds us to be grateful for any and all aspects of life. Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln declared national days of thanksgiving in response to military victories. The timing of our present-day Thanksgiving observance traces back to Lincoln’s declaration.
I’m glad that the holiday has transcended its association with battles in war and even the mythology that has arisen over the so-called “first Thanksgiving.” It’s come to symbolize a day that we can join together with family and/or friends over a meal and maybe a parade and football games. It’s a day to pause and be grateful despite what else may come our way. It’s like this brief respite in the despair of Job, where he reminds himself that all is not lost and there is still cause for hope. We all can use that.
Let us encourage one another. Let us love our neighbor. Let us be the church.