Thanksgiving is upon us!

Recipes are being pinned, stretchy pants are being pulled out… It is truly a wonderful time of year! And still, my heart goes out to those of you who look forward to this Thursday with pain in your heart, a sinking sensation in your soul. Perhaps this is your first Thanksgiving without a loved one. Or perhaps it just feels that way in spite of the lapse of several years. Maybe you are dreading the memories that will be stirred up and the empty chair at the table.

In Spite of Sorrow

Every holiday holds a sting for those who are grieving, and yet I have always found Thanksgiving to be unique among the holidays. After all, it was founded by people who knew something about grief! Of the one hundred and two passengers that arrived at Plymouth on the Mayflower only fifty-one of them lived through that first winter. The Pilgrims were certainly no strangers to empty chairs at the table. There were mothers missing on that first Thanksgiving. There were fathers missing. Friends were gone. Familiar voices no longer heard. And yet they gathered. They gathered not in mourning but in gratitude. They joined hands in spite of sorrow, in spite of suffering, in spite of loss in order to give thanks. And they gathered to give thanks for the goodness of God that had sustained them and for the hope that was still alive in each of their hearts.

United in Grief

This year marks the four hundred and second anniversary of that first Thanksgiving. Though separated by centuries, we can be united in our spirits. Particularly if you are among those who are grieving this year. Let your sorrow knit your heart to those who have sorrowed before you. Accept the pain as a link to those who have endured pain in years gone by. However, do not let sorrow and pain become your only link.

Can I encourage you to take the hands of the Pilgrims and let them lead you to a place of giving thanks. Join them in their endeavor to raise their voice in praise in spite of the sorrow in their hearts. Join them in giving thanks for the love that was. Join them in giving thanks for the love that still is. Join them in praising a God Who gives, Who takes, and Who will give again. May God give each of you the grace to give thanks this Thanksgiving!


Psalm 107:1

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.”

If you are seeking support through prayer, please visit our Prayers for You page. We invite you to allow us to pray for you… for your heartache, for your family, for your future or whatever is pressing down on your soul today.