There are so many trials and tribulations, challenges and conflicts, anxieties and atrocities that it is easy to be caught up in a spiral of disillusionment and despair. What is wrong with the world seems so much more obvious sometimes than what is right with the world. Darkness looms large and long, and it is a test of faith to remain upbeat, positive, and hopeful.
But this is who are called to be. Our God is the source of goodness and our Savior is the light of the world – and by extension, we are the light of the world. We walk by faith, not by sight, and we hold fast to what we know in our hearts to be true: God works all things together for good with those who love God. Even when the burdens, challenges, and costs are great, we are a people who celebrate not the liabilities, but all the gifts, the assets, the treasures, and blessings.
Thanksgiving is a United States holiday that could very easily be a Christian holiday. It is a celebration of providence. It is a celebration of abundance. It is a celebration of generosity. It is festival, jubilee, and feast. It is a testament and witness to the goodness and love of God. In all ways, at all times, in all places, and for a multitude of reasons, we should offer thanks and praise to God.
Thanksgiving is the holiday that immediately precedes Advent. Adopting an attitude of gratitude and thanks prepares our hearts and minds to receive the greatest gift God has given us. When we celebrate the blessings, we are doubly blessed, and we open ourselves to receive the Messiah. All too often, we stuff our bodies at Thanksgiving with marvelous food; I invite you to stuff your spirit this Thanksgiving with the marvelous bounty of God’s grace, kindness, generosity, and joy.
You are all in my prayers, beautiful people of Wisconsin. I wish you a blessed family holiday and a holy and transformational Advent season.
Grace and Peace,
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung has served as resident bishop of the Wisconsin Annual Conference since September of 2012. Prior to leading the Wisconsin Conference UMC, Bishop Jung served eight years as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference (Chicago area).