Navigating Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving. And by that I mean – I don’t love the old stories that romanticized a relationship between settlers and indigenous peoples that resulted in their genocide! Obviously.  I mean I love the gathering together with people I love and eating great food and focusing on gratitude. It is literally my favorite holiday.

We have a wonderful tradition of joining with some of both of our given and our chosen family – I look forward to it all year, and I cherish the experience of it more than I can fully express.

A month ago I actually texted our friends who usually come and told them that the only way I could see getting through 2020 was if we could still find a way for them to come and be with us over the holiday. They agreed.

But then, over these months, the numbers have been just exploding. The rates in our county and our state are higher than I ever would’ve imagined back when we were fully on lockdown – we are in exponential growth.  It’s scary, and that’s on top of having been scared for a long time.  It’s exhausting to be this scared for so long. It’s exhausting, and it’s not sustainable.  You can’t live like this.  Which is why I know we’ve all made some really difficult decisions in the last couple months to go out, see people, have a sense of normalcy!! We need it for our mental health.

And, also, we’re on the verge of a crisis at this point – so something has to change.  Last week I texted my friends again and this time, I said, it’s not happening, is it? And they agreed, it’s just not possible this year.  We all feel really sad, and angry, and helpless. But also I know – and they know – that we aren’t helpless.


We’re making a choice that’s not just good for us, it’s important for the common good. A greater good.


A choice that we need to all make so that these numbers can get back to something where the hospitals can manage without running out of beds, and so that we can protect the most vulnerable, including those who don’t even realize that they are vulnerable. This is not a virus any of us want.  No matter our current health.

I know that a lot of you are out there struggling to figure out what to do about your Thanksgiving.  And all the days between now and Thanksgiving, not to mention Christmas. These are really hard decisions, filled with a lot of grief, and fear.


We want to support you, we want to brainstorm with you, we want to be there for you.  And, we want to help you make the choice to stay in your COVID bubble for Thanksgiving – a choice that is not just about saying no to Thanksgiving, but really that is about saying yes to the values and the love that’s at the heart of what we love about Thanksgiving in the first place.  


For all of the challenges of 2020, there’s a lot this year to be grateful for. Most of all the incredible creativity, adaptability and resilience that people – you – have shown over these months.  After we let go of our usual plans for Thanksgiving, we started to brainstorm other things we could do, safely.  Intentional ways to play, to rest, and to cook and eat good food with those we love.

So that’s our invitation and challenge for you, Foothills.  To make the choice, that is based in your values, to care for those you know and those you don’t know, saying no to the usual ways of Thanksgiving but saying YES to all the reasons we have to give thanks.  

With love,
Rev. Gretchen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *