Recently, with Thanksgiving getting closer on the calendar, I have had a line from a song stuck in my head. “Give thanks with a grateful heart; give thanks to the Holy One”. This is a worship song heard often in church when I was a child. I didn’t question the words when I was younger but this year I have been wondering about this “grateful heart” I keep singing about. You see, in our North American wellness culture—something promoted by companies selling us ointments, activewear and books, and the easy-to-digest proverbs on sites like Instagram—I worry we are conflating gratitude and happiness.
During the third week of Advent, we are called to reflect on the theme of “joy”. It is much easier to make this a conversation about ourselves. Where are you finding joy during the pandemic? How are you nurturing joy and gratitude in your life? But, these questions can be burdens to us, instead of illuminating. There is so much emotional management that comes with an emergency, and as the situation in Marathon becomes more serious, it’s hard to outweigh fear with joy.
It’s been a scary week. With news of a confirmed COVID-19 case in Marathon, a continued spike of cases in Thunder Bay, and countless other newsbytes that have us furrowing our brows. Let me tell you, I have not been feeling very optimistic recently. Yet, this week in the church calendar we are celebrating “Hope”.