Author: Pastor Krista

My favorite childhood movie is Pollyanna, the story of a young girl, orphaned and sent to live with her sour Aunt, Polly Harrington. Despite having every reason in the world to be sad, angry, bitter, and upset, Pollyanna displays a deep and genuine disposition of cheerfulness and joy. Her spirit of thankfulness is infectious, turning the whole town around – even transforming the heart of the town preacher, Rev. Ford, from that of fear-mongering with fire and brimstone to that of preaching with gladness and love.

In one particularly poignant scene, Pollyanna talks with Rev. Ford about her own father, who had also been a missionary minister. She tells him of what her father called, “the Glad passages,” or “the happy texts.” These are verses in the Bible where God instructs the people to rejoice and be glad, to shout for joy, to give thanks with a grateful heart, etc.

“There are 800 happy texts,” Pollyanna notes, continuing, “If God tells us 800 times to rejoice and be glad, he must have wanted us to do it.”

Thursday is Thanksgiving, a day when families gather around the table and feast on an elaborate meal which ultimately leaves us feeling more stuffed than the turkey was (which, do you cook your stuffing inside your turkey or serve it separately? This seems to be the big Thanksgiving question this year). At this moment, if at no other, we can feel a sense of thankfulness – and we find at least one reason to be glad.

But some of us may have difficulty finding our gladness this Thanksgiving. We’ve lost loved ones and there will be empty chairs at our tables. We’re going through rough waters in our jobs, family situations, or other relationships. Our hearts are feeling broken at the state of the world around us with its violence, prejudices, injustices, war, corruption, and more. Maybe we’re not sure if God is near, if God hears us, or if God even cares.

Into this, I hope you might find gladness in knowing that one of the things I am glad for this Thanksgiving is YOU. I am glad for each and every one of you, and for you as the collective People of Peace. You are a gift to me this year and as I give thanks, I give thanks for YOU. I can rejoice and be glad because YOU are…because PEACE is…because WE are, together. You bring me gladness, People of Peace.

I pray that each of you finds your gladness this Thanksgiving. May it carry you and sustain you and bring you peace even in the midst of life’s challenges. For God loves you, and so do I!