Thanksgiving! It has always been one of my favorite times of the year. I enjoy all of the traditional foods, but that is not the reason I love it so much. I love that it is in autumn . . . cooler . . . colors . . . all that. But the real reason I look forward to it is . . . family and close friends. It wasn’t always that way for me, at least not to the degree it is today. It was the 13 months I spent in Vietnam, alone and lonely in my thoughts, during all the important holidays, that I realized the importance of family; you know the uncertainty of ever seeing loved ones again.
This year, 2020, Thanksgiving will be extra difficult for many families as Covid restrictions have curtailed or limited family gatherings. Many had plans of gathering with loved ones perhaps for the first time since March. These are hard days for family; loneliness grips the hearts of many. November and December are notorious for depression, and worse, in the more normal years, but this year will be critical for family to stay connected often though apart. There are many ways this can be done if one will take advantage of the many technological advances. Please, please remember the elderly and the single-live alone members of your families. Stay deeply in touch.
And, yet, Thanksgiving is about more than family. I believe the Thanksgiving season is a kind of wake-up call for the kind of attitude we should all exhibit each day. For me, Thanksgiving is a deeply spiritual time, with lots of prayer and reflecting. This year on Thanksgiving Day I will turn 74. I am enjoying memories from last week to my youngest memories. I actually remember some things that happened to me or near to me at 18 months of age. I had a fairly happy childhood, and I now have a great family which I love and enjoy.
Being thankful should not be just for one day a year, Thanksgiving; the Bible tells us to be “thankful in everything, in all circumstances.” Beloved, we know when we are overwhelmed with today’s burdens, and worries about tomorrow, we can praise God for Who He is and His promise to never leave us or forsake us. We have been blessed with the free gift of salvation and eternal life! No matter what this year has become, let’s be thankful to our God because He loves us enough to provide forgiveness and eternal life to all who will receive His gift.
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:15-17)
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
Thank You, Precious Lord, that You are our Refuge and our Strength in these difficult and uncertain days, and an Ever Present Helper in our times of trouble. Help us to adhere to You and this biblical truth.
We know that You are the only All-Powerful God, and nothing is too difficult in our lives for You to take care of, neither is there any hurdle in our paths that is so impossible that we cannot cross, knowing that You are with us always.
Thank You that our strength comes from You, and that Your grace is sufficient not only for today but for the rest of our journeys through this life.
Father, may Your Spirit keep us mindful of Your sufficiency, in Jesus’ name, Amen!