From the Pastor . . .


I don't usually don't write about Thanksgiving, since this newsletter comes out some two months before the holiday! But it seemed good to me this year, because ready or not, the holiday is coming. Ready or not, in this year where maybe it seems to you there is less to give thanks for, or maybe even very little. This year of Covid-19 and masking and isolation and social distancing. This year of rioting and violence. This year when maybe you lost a friend or a loved one. This year when the news cycles have once again been dominated by bad news. And maybe for you the bad news has hit closer to home, with things going on in your life that no one else knows about, but with which you are silently suffering. And struggling. Lots of folks just want 2020 to be over!

But at such times, it is important to remember that this year was the year 2020 AD - anno domini, the year of our Lord. This year, too, belonged to Him to whom all time belongs and who created time. To Him in whose hands are our life and times. Things may indeed have looked (and felt!) mighty bleak and despairing to us, but even through crosses our Lord is able to bring good. And has promised to do that very thing for you (Romans 8:28). For if He worked good through the cross of Jesus, He will work good through your crosses, too.

And how about a few Scripture verses? Like . . .

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness (Psalm 30:11).


For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love (Lamentations 3:31-32).

And maybe one more . . .

He sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety (Job 5:11).

At such a time as this, the Scriptures are our refuge, teaching us to see things as God sees them and to rely not on what we think or feel or what seems to be the case to us, but on His Word and promises.

And when you do that, then there is thanksgiving! Maybe not in the circumstance and what is happening to you, but in the Lord and how He is able to use all things for our good. And so we can, as St. Paul said, give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18), because our Lord is good.

Now, maybe by the time Thanksgiving comes there will be treatments for this virus and its threat greatly diminished. Maybe a vaccine will be on the horizon on even in our doctor's offices. Or maybe we will be facing many more months of this status quo, with all the restrictions and precautions. Only our Lord knows.

For us it is not to know, but to entrust our days and times into His hands with Thanksgiving. So do so! Don't let a bad news world rob you of the thankfulness and joy of the Lord. Remain in the Word, continue to receive His Sacrament, and know that as St. Paul also said:

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).

Happy Thanksgiving!

His servant and yours,

          Pastor Douthwaite

Saint Athanasius Lutheran Church
Missouri Synod
Church Location: 114 Kingsley Road SW, Vienna, VA  22180
Mailing Address: 3057 Nutley Street Suite 822, Fairfax, VA  22031
703-455-4003                       Rev. James Douthwaite, Pastor