The first Thanksgiving without your baby.
Maybe this was supposed to be your baby's first Thanksgiving. Maybe you should still be pregnant. Maybe your baby was with you last Thanksgiving, but isn't now.
Whatever your situation, Thanksgiving may seem impossible this year. Not only the being with family and being acutely aware of the number of seats around the table, but the whole point of Thanks-giving.
When your guttural cry is, "What is there to be thankful for?" but you don't want to ask the question because some well-meaning acquaintance is going to start listing things that you know are blessings and that you "should" be thankful for, but face it - they aren't your baby.
When writers and preachers remind us that we are not commanded to give thanks "for" all things, but "in" all things (1 Thessalonians 5:19), because that should make it easier since you don't have to be thankful your baby is gone, just find something to be thankful for within it. Only even that doesn't always work.
So today, I want to point you to a different command, five verses earlier in 1 Thessalonians 5:14: "And we urge you, brothers and sisters...encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone." This Thanksgiving, that may describe you. Disheartened. Weak. In need of patience from others...and yourself.
If giving thanks is hard this year, that's okay.
If praying is hard this year, that's okay.
If "celebrating" anything is hard this year, that's okay.
There will be other Thanksgivings, other holidays, when both time and the healing work of God has eased the pain that threatens to rip you apart right now. (It will get easier, I promise!). But this year, be gentle with yourself. Be patient. Do what you can, and don't have over-the-top expectations of how you "should" feel.
Because while it is God's will for us to give thanks, He also has a heart for the disheartened and the weak. He is close to the brokenhearted and those who are "crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18), and if all you can do this Thanksgiving is breathe and let Him sustain you and be your strength, that's okay.
Because leaning on Him for strength when you have no strength of your own is worship, too.