Thanksgiving Reflection by Fr. Jim

Give thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.” (Ephesians 5:20-21

We greet you during the start of this season of the Nativity and encourage you to stay focused this Thanksgiving day on the many things for which we can be thankful.  It’s important now more than ever to look ahead and stay focused on our Orthodox Christian faith and the hope that it brings to us, even during these unprecedented times that we are currently experiencing.

Thanksgiving Day 2020 will always be remembered as the day many families choose not to be together due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has altered life as we know it.  The virus has created a sense of hopelessness, confusion, anger, fear, and frustration which has left our society feeling anxious and nervous about our health, our livelihood, our emotional well-being, and about how we interact and relate to other people, including our own family.  These are difficult times.  These are scary times.  And these are times of much uncertainty.

Scripture tells us that we are called to be thankful to God always and for all things.  And the prayers of our Holy Church remind us that at all times we are to call upon the name of the Lord and glorify His Holy name.  This season of Thanksgiving may leave many of us feeling as if there isn’t much for which to be thankful.

However, despite the condition of the world around us today, we implore you to remain steadfast in your thanksgiving to God.  Because, even during these difficult times of separation, illness, isolation, and fear, it’s more important right now, than ever before, to remember all the things for which we can be thankful.

  1. Remember this Thanksgiving Day to thank God for sending His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into this fallen and broken world to save us, and to redeem us, and to lead us to everlasting life.
  2. Remember this Thanksgiving to thank God for your family and for the people God has placed in your life.
  3. Remember this Thanksgiving to thank God for those who are on the front lines of this pandemic: the doctors, the nurses, the first responders, and all the frontline workers.
  4. Remember this Thanksgiving to thank God for our civil leaders who are leading us through this battle with the Coronavirus.
  5. And most importantly, remember this Thanksgiving to thank God in prayer.

“O Christ our God, Who at all times and in every hour, in heaven and on earth, are worshipped and glorified, Who are long-suffering, merciful and compassionate, Who loves the just and shows mercy upon the sinner, Who calls all to salvation through the promise of blessings to come: O Lord, in this hour, receive our supplications, and direct our lives according to Your commandments. Sanctify our souls, make chaste our bodies, correct our thoughts, cleanse our minds, and deliver us from all tribulation, evil and distress. Encompass us with Your holy angels, that, guided and guarded by them, we may attain to the unity of the faith and to the knowledge of Your unapproachable glory, for You are blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.

On behalf of Fr. George and Kh. Nouhad Shalhoub, the clergy, Mr. Elie Akel (Parish Council Chairman) and all parish council members, we wish you and your family a blessed Nativity Fast and happy Thanksgiving.

With Love in Christ,
Fr. Jim and Kh. Audrey King

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