In the midst of these times of continuing uncertainty and change at the macro and personal levels, life continues with its moment to moment decisions, making a living, raising children, caring for parents, and all the day in and day out stuff that constitutes our days. Although many are struggling with a variety of things or going through unanticipated transitions, there clearly is a lot for us to celebrate for which to give God thanks this Advent season.

Think for a moment about all of our blessings. And not just the big things, but all that is good we often take for granted. Water. Food. Shelter. Air we can breathe. Intact bodily senses.

On top of this there are the huge blessings of people who love us whom we love. People who care. The fact that we have hearts and minds that experience emotions. The opportunity to work. Great people who are passionate about issues and are doing something about them. Smart people solving all kinds of problems. Selfless people in a variety of positions making a difference. People with great integrity in all kinds of leadership positions. The list of blessings is boundless.

But in addition to celebrating blessings, there is much more for which to give thanks. Think for a moment about all we have overcome at various points in life. The times we did not cave in and not only survived, but moved on. The moments we were resilient. The days we got out of bed, even though we were faced with a ton of stuff. The passages through which we persisted. The obstacles we got through. Those things we feared, but conquered.

Ponder the many things in life that have gone right. How about the fact we have the freedom to worship when we want. Or that the people at Snowmass Chapel care about you. On top of this, we are adored and cherished by God just as we are right now, without conditions. We have brains that enable us to feel good things, joy and pleasure, not just the hard. The minds we have that enable us to wonder and even engage in questions that seemingly have no answers.

How about celebrating that God’s Holy Spirit is all around us, within us, and that nothing can separate us from God, nothing.

While celebrating and giving thanks, it is important to remember that such things are not a denial of what is amiss nor are they a minimization of the diffuse evil that impacts this world. Rather celebrating and giving God thanks is an expression of something that is absolutely true in the midst of it all. That is, there is much that is good, right, and the way it should be. Much that is wonderful, and beautiful, and loving. Much that reflects how God wants things to be. So, in this season of Advent, I invite us all to keep the idea of celebrating front and center as we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth.