Holiday week. With Thanksgiving just 2 days away, I am wondering, How are you? Really. Are you doing ok? Holidays magnify ALL the feelings. This week maybe a tough one for you. Let’s just be honest here…it’s 2020, and every day is something new. It’s been about 8 months of ALL the feelings! So many changes. So many firsts. So many scratch-your-head moments. It’s harder to be ok in 2020! As we come up to the day that reminds us to be thankful, I have just a few thoughts that I hope can be an encouragement and a reminder to us in this crazy year.
When things are different, it shows us what he HAD that we possibly didn’t appreciate. We can be thankful for those things. Like toilet paper! For me, I loved seeing people’s faces. I miss smiles. Our masks are covering all the smiles, and I miss them. I have learned this year to appreciate simply speaking to someone and seeing all their facial expressions. I never thought to add “facial expressions” to my list of gratitudes, but it is there now. I will smile more. When we move past the times of masks, I vow to be a Super Smiler!
When some things are taken away that we have always had, we realize more fully all that HAS NOT changed! There are lots of things that I enjoy this year that is still the same as last year. I can talk to my far-away family and friends on my phone and computer through text, call, email, or Facetime. Most people in history could not do this, but we can! I am so thankful! There are so many constants that have not changed this year- my Bible is still here. My access to God through prayer has not been interrupted by Covid. Nature. Oh thank God for nature! I am sitting right now in my car, looking at this pretty pond and trees. Nature has been so stabilizing for me this year. I am grateful!
Let’s not start thinking “isolation thoughts.” This is when we begin to feel that no one but us has ever been through what we are experiencing. It leads to self-pity. Yes, this has been a really unusual year! But many others have faced Thanksgiving in trying times before. During World War II, there were shortages on many food items, so the holiday dinner had to be very different. Even Turkey was off the menu for Americans, not because there were no turkeys, but that the government bought up most all of the turkeys and sent them overseas for the soldiers’ dinner. The traditions of Thanksgiving had to be put on hold for a few years. If this pandemic is keeping you from seeing loved ones this week, people 80 years knew how that felt. There were gasoline and tire rations, so no one could travel for the holidays. Football was put on hold largely, many men were off fighting for peace. Even the constant of watching the Macy’s parade was cancelled for 3 years. Macy donated the rubber from the huge floating balloons to the war effort. This isn’t the first time Americans had to rethink their holiday. Are you nervous that our political system is so divided? I am too. But a divided government is not new either. Don’t panic! Business owners came to Franklin Roosevelt, complaining that the late Thanksgiving holiday cut into their profits. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving Day up a week to give people another week to shop. It outraged a lot of folks! Only 32 states agreed to the new date. 16 states held their ground. For 3 years Americans celebrated Thanksgiving on DIFFERENT days, because the states disagreed. Some called the earlier date Democrat Thanksgiving, and the later date Republican Thanksgiving. Some even called the holiday “Franksgiving,” as an insult to FDR. He finally gave in and Congress made the 4th Thursday our official day of celebration yearly. So you see? American government has been at odds since it was founded almost 250 years ago! The political distrust should not keep us from having the best, most grateful Thanksgiving ever!!
More than anything, gratitude comes from attitude. We can choose to be grateful when everything is not going our way. We can choose to see all the good around and be thankful to God for it. Let’s determine to make this year, 2020, a year we will never forget! Not just because of a virus, or an election, or a mask, or a stay-home order. Let’s make 2020 the year we DECIDED to count all our blessings and be AMAZED at the provision of a faithful, loving God.