New mom, pastor says Thanksgiving carries deeper meaning amid COVID-19 pandemic

WILLIAMSTOWN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Rochelle Harris of Williamstown, New Jersey, is thankful for the gift of new life.

It's her precious baby girl, Autumn Aurora's first Thanksgiving. Autumn was born three weeks early.

"It seems since the day she was born she was eyes wide open, looking at everything, taking it all in," Harris said.

Harris is a military wife. One of her biggest blessings was her husband flying in from South Korea in August to meet his baby girl. She says Thanksgiving carries a deeper meaning this year.

She is soon moving with her newborn to Germany.

"It is more important than ever because I will be moving out of the country for the next three years, so I won't be able to have family holidays like I'm used to," she said.

Her family is preparing a pickup dinner drive-thru, instead of the usual big family gathering.

"Of course, we want to be able to share our love and time with people, but it's basically the way things are done now," the mom of two said.

Father Martini Shaw, with the African Episcopal Church of St Thomas in Overbook, will be preaching his Thanksgiving sermon virtually.

"Better days are ahead. That things will get better," Shaw said is what he will speak on.

Shaw encourages people during this challenging holiday to hold tight to faith.

"It's not easy to have joy during a pandemic, but I think we have to pursue it. We have to pursue happiness. We have to pursue a state of gratitude. We have to pursue a state of hope," he said.

For Harris, she is also holding on to faith. She says she and her husband are thankful for the ultimate gift of a healthy baby and new adventures ahead.
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