In a week such as this, the beginning of a season so symbolic for its hopefulness, I am reminded of a passage from Thessalonians that encourages us to give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God.
To be sure, our collective experience as a city, nation and world these past two years has tested our capacity for gratefulness in so many ways. The reality of such immeasurable heartache and loss, paired with the considerable upending of lives and routines, remains fresh in our minds and so very present. But it is under such circumstances that God has a way of providing context, reminding us that life is abundant in its many blessings, often in ways unseen before.
Within the Creighton community, since the safe return of our own students, including the second-largest freshman class in our history this fall, I hear interaction and laughter on campus and in our hallways differently than I did before, more cheerful. The emphatic cheers from our incredible Bluejay fans, faithful as always in their support of our student-athletes on the field and in our arenas, feels louder. Even the energy in our classrooms is more discernable. I admit that the alteration of campus life for a time during pandemic likely has had the effect of accentuating the blessed return of these sights and sounds. But that is no doubt God’s way of providing me with valuable context. And I am left no less thankful.
I expect that for so many in our community and around the country, the time spent with loved ones this Thanksgiving will feel that much more enjoyable having been absent the opportunity last year. I encourage you to pause and rejoice in the traditions returned to us, and the people with which we celebrate them, even if just for a moment. The grace of a new day with friends and family near and not far proclaims a return of wholeness.
So too this week, I encourage you to remember the scientific heroes and the health care professionals who made such a return to normalcy and our Thanksgiving traditions possible. They are walking miracles, and I remain so grateful for their curative feats of brilliance and swift action, and most assuredly, their healing ways. May God bless them as they continue that essential work.
Remember, too, those who continue to suffer, the sick and infirm, the discarded and forgotten, the poor, the addicted, the downtrodden, the homeless and the refugee. For all the trials that the fortunate among us have faced through the pandemic, know that theirs have been harsher. May God care for them, send them extra warmth and peace during this time, and prompt our own stewardship of care and justice.
In this Thanksgiving season, let us renew our hearts. Let us remember our circumstances, past and present, and be full of appreciation for the experience of both. Let us continue to live a life of gratitude. And let us be ever mindful of one another, encountering each person with dignity and love.