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Thanksgiving in the Rain

by the Rev. Paul McLain

 

While living in New Haven, Connecticut, we made plans to go with Lucille Clancy, a parishioner at our church, to the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade in New York City. We were so excited about this and Lucille was looking forward to going back to the site of her fondest Thanksgiving memories.

 

Early that morning, we boarded the train for the 2-hour ride into the city. When we arrived, the weather was miserable. It was a cold, hard rain that would not let up. Our vision of a sunny day looking up at the magnificent balloons turned into, ‘how can we find a place to stay warm and dry?’ We made the best of it. The three of us had a lovely lunch at Smith & Wollensky’s. We then found a covered spot in another restaurant where we could get a view of the parade without getting drenched. Lucille remembered how much she enjoyed seeing the Radio City Music Hall Christmas show on Thanksgiving and we arranged to get tickets for the late afternoon performance.

 

What I remember most from that day were not all the activities, but that we shared some unexpected, momentary hardships and we found ways to improvise and get through them together with good humor. A scriptural passage that has been a touchstone in my life is James 1:2-4: ‘My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.’ During this time of COVID, we have experienced over a year-and-a-half of trials, but one of the joys is that we have gone through this together. We have supported and encouraged each other along the way. We have learned new skills and become more flexible in our ways of being church. And we have become more dependent on God to see us through it all.

 

Even in the midst of that cold, rainy Thanksgiving, Lucille still had a twinkle in her eye as she revisited and shared with us events that had been touchstones in her life. We correspond with her and recall our fond memories of that day the three of us not merely endured but felt like we prevailed and relished in it. On this rainy Thanksgiving, I am grateful to Lucille for her persevering spirit to bring warmth to my and Ruthie’s hearts on a dreary day. I am grateful to our Calvary community for persisting and thriving during a challenging twenty months in which together we reinvented the ways we worship, learn, serve, and care. And I am grateful to God for bringing rays of sunshine and hope into our lives even in the midst of cold, dark times. Happy Thanksgiving!


22 thoughts on “Thanksgiving in the Rain”

    1. Thanks, Milton. A pastor offered a sermon on this passage around the time of my Dad’s death years ago and it’s stayed with me as a favorite. Love and Blessings, Paul

  1. Wonderful story and scripture with wonderful daily application opportunities, and great reminders in this season when we are intentionally focused on grace and gratitude. Much love to and for you and Ruthie, and the entire Calvary Family.

  2. Thank you, Paul, for this lovely story, and for the reminder that God’s Love never leaves us. Advent is that time of waiting for the Joy that comes in the morning for all of God’s children. So grateful for your ministry and care for all of us.

  3. This is awesome Paul! Being a huge fan and attending the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade the past several years, this writing definitely caught my eye. It was a great reminder that joy and blessings are more than parades and balloons, but also trials and tests at times in our lives helping to make us complete…Lucille’s twinkle in the eye and perseverance will stick with me for a while…..

    1. Todd, glad this spoke to you and delighted to learn of your history with the Macy’s parade. And glad the image of Lucille’s twinkle in the eye and perseverance will stay with you.
      Love, Advent Blessings, and Hotty Toddy!
      Paul

  4. Paul, I’m just now reading this after getting off the phone with you. Talk about a bolt of lightning after our discussion — or do you call it grace? The timing was perfect. Just what I needed to read and inwardly digest, as a wise person once said.

    1. Kate, glad this was the message you needed as you deal with the trials from your recent fall, begin your journey to healing and recovery with perseverance, and somehow find the joy of God’s presence in the midst of it all.
      Advent Blessings and Love,
      Paul

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