Rev. Carol Bodeau, Minister firstname.lastname@example.org
As the holiday season approaches, I am mindful of all that I have to be grateful for: health, family, community, work that fills my heart and soul, and a true passion for life. Though life is never perfect, and though the world has a long way to go before it becomes the place of peace and justice that I wish it to be, I am nonetheless optimistic and hopeful. I believe that feeling grateful for what we have is the fuel that nurtures our dreams for what may yet be.
At Westside, we have much to be thankful for. We have a building that shelters us and that we can call our religious home. We have members who have been in the community for many years, as well as brand new people, all of whom bring their love and enthusiasm to the community. We have resources to share with one another, and opportunities to come together for fellowship and reflection. And we have dreams, which give us something to work towards.
Many of you have expressed the dream that Westside might grow into a larger, more thriving community. I believe this is possible, and I believe the path to that growth is gratitude. Rather than focusing on all the ‘problems’ that having more members will fix, I believe that feeling truly grateful for all the blessings available to us right now is what will make Westside appealing to others who might join us. People are drawn to what is joyful, hopeful, and encouraging. They are drawn to whatever offers the promise of more life, more love, and more vitality. As we focus on what we have to offer, rather than on what we are lacking, we become a beacon to seekers looking for a place to find shelter, and meaningful connections.
There will always be ‘problems’ or difficulties in life—in our personal circumstances, in our families, in our churches, and in our world. But these do not define us. Rather, we are defined—and can define ourselves—but what we have, rather than by what we lack. As Thanksgiving day arrives, let’s turn our attention towards all the gifts we have to share, and all the things we are grateful for—together, as a community. Though the size of our congregation has implications for how we function as a community, what really matters is the size of our hearts. Let’s open them wide, with gratitude for all that is and with hope for all that may yet come to be.
Wishing you a peaceful and joyous Thanksgiving,