At Thanksgiving, the American and Canadian holiday, families get together and celebrate many things, not least being together. It’s a time of festivity and food.
But it’s not such a festive time for some, indeed many, due to circumstances often beyond their control.
Some are lonely. Others are grieving. Some cannot be at home. Others are reminded of how good things are… for others. Some are retraumatised because of memories of past. Others find that they have such poor associations for something apparently good that life feels weird at these times at best. Then there is the person whose world was rocked the day or the week before the festivities began. How do they celebrate when their world has been swept away in a shocking torrent?
It is good to experience sorrow in a festive season at least once in our lives. It changes things. Suddenly there is empathy for an ever-present situation in some people’s lives, every year, be it Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc.
Every festive season is a reminder of the vast dichotomies in the injustices of life. There are people who have the best times of their lives, just as there are people who have the worst times of their lives. It’s good to bear this — both realities — in mind.
The apostle Paul offers wise advice for Thanksgiving: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15)
The vulnerable need to be loved, and more than ever at Thanksgiving and during other celebrations, for they’re reminded how unfortunate they are. The unfortunate suffer more during celebrations because they must suffer the fortunate.