Beloved clergy, brothers and sisters in the Lord: CHRIST IS AMONG US!
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is Good, for His steadfast love endures forever.” – Ps. 136:1
With this quote come our warmest wishes for a most Blessed Thanksgiving Weekend to you and your families!
Thanksgiving is traditionally a time of year when we gather with family and friends in sincere gratitude for God’s abundant blessings in our lives. This year, confronted with so many unique challenges in our country and throughout the world, it may be difficult to recognize the blessings God has provided for us in 2022. But gratitude must be experienced in this present moment and in our daily reflections about the value of life.
In the Gospel narrative according to the Holy Evangelist Matthew, our Lord invites us to “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (6:26). Each of us matters that much to God!
Throughout history, thanksgivings have been held at the end of harvests, in celebration of successful growing seasons. But the yield at harvest time is always unpredictable, just as life’s trials. However, our faith assures us that when challenges abound, God’s Grace abounds all the more!
That is why Thanksgiving Day is a celebration that reaches deep into our faith journey. It is a day that we set aside to remind us to be grateful and to express that gratitude - to God, to our loved ones, co-workers, people whom we encounter in our daily lives. It is also a time to let our gratitude be transformed into actions of generosity, as we feed those who are hungry and help those who are separated.
As we reflect on this year, we remain truly grateful to see God blessing our Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA through each of you, our faithful laity, clergy, and seminarians. Your support of our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, during this horrific war, your generosity in providing food for the hungry, clothing for the naked; helping with the efforts to keep our parish churches Christ-centered - have all certainly been edifying. We remain always grateful for all of you who volunteer in our parishes and for our Metropolia Center Consistory staff - for your steadfast devotion to the Church and her mission. It is our joy and privilege to be coworkers with all of you for Christ the Savior, Who gives us courage and hope.
On Thanksgiving Day, whether we gather with family and friends together around the same table or remotely gather through the gift of technology, let us always remember to give thanks for the many blessings from our Lord.
May you experience the nearness and love of Christ this Thanksgiving Day and always.
With prayers for all of you,