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; the tree bears its fruit; the fig tree and vine give their full yield.
O children of Zion, be glad, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the later rain, as before. The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army that I sent against you.
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied
and praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel
and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other.
And my people shall never again be put to shame. ~ Joel 2:21-27
What will be on your table this Thanksgiving?
For some who live in food insecurity, there will not be enough.
And for some, because of generous hearts and hands, it will be a rare feast after a week or month or year of scarcity.
Who will be around your table?
Will it be family? Will it be missing someone who is gone and grieved? Will it be strangers who are grateful for your hospitality? Or will there be no one?
What will be at your table?
Will it be strife, anger, partisan debate, family dysfunction, or silence?
Thanksgiving is not a joyful day for all. It is a holiday sometimes surrounded by loneliness, hunger, grief, or anger.
And yet, we have a God who says "Fear not!" A God who gives hope even in the midst of despair. A God who says the devastation is not the last word.
The image of trees bearing fruit, silos full of grain, casks of wine, and barrels of olive oil tell us of a God of plenty. A God who desires us to be nourished, and fed.
Who desires our grateful hearts to be generous to those for whom this day is difficult.
Who desires strife to come to an end, and tears of grief to be wiped away.
Whatever joys or sorrows are at your table this year, reach out to the hand of one who sparks hope in your heart this Thanksgiving, and give praise to the One whose we are; the One who desires life and bounty for all of creation.
Together at your table, sing the Doxology and give thanks for the goodness of God.