This past week was filled with loss. We lost Todd’s great-Uncle Harold. He was 87 and had a good, long life but his health and mind failed him in his last years. We lost our friend Russ, who at age 65 seemed to have more than his share of heath struggles. And then there is the news of six young people murdered. Three students shot dead at the University of Virginia and four students stabbed to death at the University of Idaho. One killer is in custody, the other is on the loose.
Thanksgiving is in four days. How, other than remembering to hold our loved ones a little tighter, are we supposed to be thankful in this? This messy, ugly, tragedy-filled world? This place where things sometimes happen that stop us in our tracks. This world that keeps on spinning when sometimes we wish it would stop.
We give thanks in the midst of the broken because there is also beauty. We give thanks when we mourn because we remember the time we did have with loved ones. There are two sides to nearly everything. Darkness reveals light. Suffering reveals strength.
Ugliness reveals grace. Thankfulness reveals joy. Those are the two parts of the Greek word for thankfulness, Eucharisteo –it equals grace and joy. Remember that Jesus gave thanks before he broke bread with his disciples at the Last Supper. Jesus knew that he too would be broken, and he saw that suffering as grace. May we learn to do the same.
God Bless you as you celebrate Thanksgiving with your families this week. And may God comfort those who mourn those missing from their tables this week.