We are living in the gap between yesterday’s Thanksgiving celebrations and the beginning of the church’s new year which arrives this Sunday with the First Sunday of Advent. In this in-between time, most of what is being reported on concerns holiday shopping. It’s hard to remain focused on the gratitude of Thanksgiving when it is followed so quickly by anxiety about the economy and its impact on our tradition of gift-giving.
Yet we are encouraged to give thanks even when it is difficult. In one of the readings assigned for this upcoming Sunday the apostle Paul addresses the community in Corinth saying, “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus.” Sounds harmless enough, until you read the rest of the letter and discover how dysfunctional the community in Corinth was!
Paul’s challenge may prove to be our own this weekend and in the weeks ahead. Days spent with family over the holidays may prove more head-aching than heart-warming. The constant pressure to find gifts may obscure the value of those things we are most grateful for. However, it is precisely at this time that we are called to offer thanksgiving – and in doing so, we may rediscover how grateful we truly are.