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Thankful to be thankful––certain to celebrate

By Gil Hanke

We are between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In spite of the joy that generally accompanies these events, we still have concerns.

As I write this, my wife and I are uncertain about our plans for Christmas. We don’t know where we will be going or who will be coming. All that will be sorted out in time. It may be a Christmas for us where no one can travel for any number of reasons, but that will not mute our celebrations.

Even with all that continues to cause concern, I have much for which I am thankful. Even with an uncertain future, the celebration of Christ’s birth will be filled with hope, positive memories, and joy-filled worship and music.

God is bigger than COVID-19. God is bigger than the challenge of travel, brighter than the stars, warmer than the fire in the fireplace. This current mess will pass, and we will adjust to new experiences. There may be loss, even grief, but God will hold us and those we cherish in God’s arms.

On Christmas Eve, I will sing Silent Night, and on Christmas Day I will call or Zoom the family and recall sweet memories of those who are seeing the Christmas star from their side of heaven.

My prayer for each of you this season is that you take steps for self-care:

  • Make phone or video calls to friends and family––not just on Christmas Day––but several times during this season of celebration.
  • Safely participate in your local church worship services and activities.
  • Feast on great music and healthy food.
  • When weather permits, spend time outside. Take walks several days a week.
  • Don’t take un-necessary risks but be intentional about reaching out and staying safely engaged with others.
  • Do at least one thing you really enjoy every day and look forward tomorrow.

May God continue to bless you during this wonder-filled season.

Gil Hanke, chief executive officer

General Commission on UM Men

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