Rev. Valarie Englert, Senior Pastor

Do not fear, o soil; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things! 

Do not fear, you animals of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green … 

O children of Zion, be glad and rejoice in the Lord your God … 

– Joel 2:21-23a NRSV

The prophet Joel sang these words for the people of Israel in the midst of a calamity. 

The land and crops had been utterly destroyed by a locust plague. 

The people were hungry, as were the animals. 

The very soil was damaged and tired. 
And yet the prophet called the people to rejoice because the Holy One was in their midst, even in the face of suffering. 

Their privation would not last forever. 

My hope is that wherever you are, you are surrounded by loving family and friends, and that your heart sings with praise. 
But some days are harder than others, more tender, more poignant, because life happens.

Circumstances change. 

We, too, experience hardship as the people of Israel did. 
May I suggest a simple exercise that might lift your heart? 

Find a pen or pencil and some paper, and consider these questions for just a few minutes.

Jot down what comes to mind. 

  • Can you name three holiday memories? Any holiday will do. 
  • What might you be looking forward to? Just three things. Doesn’t have to be anything momentous – looking forward to a cup of afternoon tea or morning coffee counts. 
  • What three things/people/places/happenings can you name that you’re grateful for? 

I wonder what arises as you take a look at your list: a smile? A deeper breath?

Space around your heart? A lifting of your spirit? 

So often it’s the little things that can turn our negativity to praise, our sadness to thanksgiving. 

And God is in the midst of it all. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

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