Perhaps “Thanksgiving 2020” is the most anticipated yet dreaded Thanksgiving in our lifetime. Many are looking forward to Thanksgiving; but not for the typical reasons such as family gatherings, laughing at the men as they sleep trying to watch the football game, enjoying the cornbread dressing or even acknowledging all that we have to be thankful for!
Most are glad it’s Thanksgiving because it means we are just over a month from 2020 being yesteryear! No other year in our lifetime have we seen such dread, fear and craziness that 2020 has presented to the world. No one could have dreamt in 2019 what 2020 was going to pan out to be.
However, this article is not about the pandemic nor the ramifications it has dished out to our world; this article is about THANKSGIVING!
As a pastor and counselor, allow me to share with you what many counselors share with others. Rather than focus on the situations and circumstances in our life that change (changes are constant!), lets focus our lives on what has not changed. If I speak to a child whose parents are getting divorced, I share thoughts and ideas with that child about the things and people in their life that is not changing. When we remind ourselves of the things in life and the people in our life that doesn’t change, it gives us great hope and reassurance.
Nothing about Thanksgiving has changed. Before you quit reading this, I know that many of our TRADITIONS connected to Thanksgiving have changed. Maybe we can’t have all of our family members present, maybe the hours of gathering has to change, maybe the festivities have to be cancelled… but, the true meaning of Thanksgiving has not changed.
Let’s make THANKSGIVING into two words: “Thanks” and “Giving.”
THANKS – What are you thankful for? Chances are whatever you were thankful for last year, you are still thankful for it this year; that hasn’t changed. Who are you thankful for? Chances are whoever you were thankful for last year you are still thankful for them this year; that hasn’t changed.
GIVING – Giving should never be based upon our circumstance or situation. Giving is not only monetary or time related, never has been and never should be! Giving is an act of service. Giving is not based upon ability to give, it should be based on you being available to give. You may have the ability to give but do not make yourself available to give. God views as important our availability more so than our ability in all things, not just in our giving. If you really want to experience the joy of giving, make yourself available to the Lord and available to the one you choose to give to. We should all pray that the Lord would give us the spirit of availability – desiring to make ourselves available to Him and to one another.
Yes, the traditions we all have that are connected to this late November day in the month of November may look a lot different this year than in years past but each of us are so blessed to have yet another year acknowledging all of the many blessings the Lord has bestowed upon us.
Lastly, many view 2020 as the year of great pain and suffering. I am thankful to know and be reminded that Jesus Christ, our Savior, was also known as the “Suffering Messiah.” Our suffering we have experienced this year has been real and valid but it is a comfort to know that the Lord Himself knows all too well about suffering. In fact, in the book of James, the word of God says this: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”
This is a great passage of scripture that we need to hold onto in the turbulent times we are facing. So, be encouraged this Thanksgiving. Don’t view this sacred holiday as just a closer end time to this crazy year. View Thanksgiving this year as we should every year. Be thankful for all that the Lord has allowed you to have. Even be thankful for the suffering that came your way this year. Commit to the Lord of making yourself available to be an agent of giving, especially during these difficult days that our world is experiencing.
Be reminded that although a lot of things has changed this year, there are still many things that haven’t changed (including the Detroit Lions losing yet again on Thanksgiving Day). I pray you know that the Lord loves you and is still on His Throne, desiring all people to know Him as Lord and as the Suffering Messiah.
Happy Thanksgiving Portland,
Pastor Tim Colovos, Portland First Baptist Church.