Hildegard of Bingen … a woman so far ahead of her time … gives us good advice for today. As we stay in our homes, she urges us to build the City of God.
We can do it in Christian mindfulness. We can do it when we cling to Jesus and his vision of eternal peace on Earth.
Hildegard believed that God is generous toward those who, in good times and bad, faithfully work to build the City of God. These people avoid destructive quarrels, hatred and envy. They work with a calm attitude doing good for others.
Being kind of everyone at home. Being patient with pandemic restrictions. Spending free time in prayer and spiritual reading. All this can help us to build the City of God at home.
To walk into Thanksgiving with Christian mindfulness, we need to remember two things:
- Our purpose on Earth is to glorify God.
- God says prayer is important.
Today, on the day before our pandemic Thanksgiving, take some time to go before God with your unanswered prayers. The nation, the world, the sick and the healthy all need our prayers today.
I feel we also need to pray for healing of our image of God. He is loving, never vulgar, never hateful. He wants to spend time with us. He wants us to give him time in gratitude and praise, so He can work on our minds and our ways.
The image of God and the church has been blackened for too many in recent years in the United States. We have linked political expediency to God’s will. God is not shy about telling us that He expects us to love our neighbors, not to view them with suspicion and hatred.
It’s time to see what God says to us about our role in resolving these unanswered prayers. We can only do that through time for prayer and thanksgiving. May peace come to our hearts and to our nation.
As Thanksgiving approaches … I just got the pumpkin pie out of the oven!!! … take a few minutes to thank the people you have spent the pandemic with.
Thank those living with you and any one else in your bubble. This year, I’m writing thank you notes in Thanksgiving cards for my husband and my son. We have been a bubble of three for many months.
We haven’t had fights or gotten into arguments. We have bitten our tongues when we get on each other’s nerves. This is mostly because everyone has been nice and witty instead.
Think about the character attributes that have made your pandemic mates nice to be around. Write it up on a place card, a thank you note or a Thanksgiving card. Then share it before Thanksgiving dinner.
If you can, continue to do this loving-kindness meditation as part of an effort to heal our own national pain as well.
Today, take 30 minutes to give thanks for all the answered prayers of 2020. And yes, there have been some.
When I did this today, I went down my prayer list … looking at the names of the people and the groups that I pray for everyday. There was an answered prayer for every one of them.
So, enjoy some fellowship with the Lord. He is with us this Thanksgiving.
This idea, originated by Tsh Oxenrider, brings specific gratitude to my Thanksgiving table every year.
Take the gratitude list that you developed this week. Then write it on a pumpkin that becomes part of your Thanksgiving table centerpiece.
When it’s time to go around the table expressing thanks, you’ll have something quite specific to mention. It’s a way to bring Christian mindfulness to the celebration.
The pandemic is hovering over all of us. We’ve had friends lose their parents to COVID. We won’t get to spend Thanksgiving with our granddaughter and her parents. We won’t get to see my husband’s mother who is in dementia care.
Nonetheless, the Lord has been so good to us. Today, let’s look with intention at what’s right and how God has blessed us. Listing our blessings helps us to stay focused on what is good in our lives.
For example, I am thankful to the Lord for:
- Our continued health.
- Our marriage that has remained solid despite quarantining together soon after we retired from jobs that involved a lot of travel and time apart.
- Food, water and a warm house.
- My granddaughter and the miracles of technology that allow us to have dessert together on Thanksgiving day.
- My wonderful kids.
- A ministry that has continued via Zoom through the pandemic.
- My spiritual director and pastors.
And there’s lots more on my list. Please make one yourself and spend time thanking God for what you have. You will feel much better.
It might be fun to keep it, so you can compare it to next year’s list. Here’s hoping next year’s list has a lot of travel on it!
The U.S. Postal Service has been a great blessing in pandemic life. This Thanksgiving, use it to bless others.
Sit in prayer and contemplate the people who have made your life better during this year. Then send them a card or a hand-written note to tell them how much you appreciate them.
Remember to thank doctors, nurses and health care providers, as well as those who work in senior care facilities.
It’s special to get thanks through the mail, especially when you don’t expect it. Spreading love and gratitude is godly this season. So extend your Thanksgiving by reaching through quarantine to give your thanks.
If you are alive to read this, you have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. But it may not feel like it.
Let’s turn this time into a deep harvest of gratitude toward God. He will be at your table on Thanksgiving, even if many loved ones are not.
Thanksgiving in a pandemic may need an extra dose of Christian mindfulness to be memorable. Let’s start with this step. Reflect and think: What do you appreciate the most about the people you’ve been in quarantine with? How have they made the time pleasant?
Today, thank them for the character qualities and personality quirks that have gotten you through 2020 so far. It’s a first step toward a real Thanksgiving.
Almighty God, to you belongs the sea, for you made it, and the dry land shaped by your hand. We hold the riches of the universe only in trust.
Make us honest stewards of your creation, careful of the good earth you have given us, compassionate and just in sharing its bounty with the whole human family.
Thank you for your generosity to us. Please give us the graces necessary to remain grateful to you every day.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.