Reasons to Give Thanks
Recently, as we neared the end of the week’s lesson in our favorite Bible study material, a closing summary point suggested reflecting on the salvation God provides through His Son and writing a prayer of thanks.
I spontaneously jotted, “Dear Lord, thank You for the salvation that rescued me from certain disaster, changed me from the inside out, and gave me a life full of joy.”
I meant every word. As Thanksgiving approaches, this prayer stimulated thoughts of what a disaster my life had been before I prayed a prayer in our living room many years ago.
From someone who lived as if he were the center of the universe and primarily for the weekend (or nearest party), I changed to someone trying to imitate David. At least, “the man after God’s own heart” part.
That kind of thanks giving during this season is especially meaningful this year. Many would find little to express gratitude for in a year of pandemic, social unrest, and complete uncertainty.
Several months ago, remarking on this year’s upheaval and circumstances-changing-by-the-day flavor of life, one of our daughters commented wryly, “It’s 2020.”
I don’t mean this blog to sound like some kind of happy talk. Along with many others, we have suffered heartache lately too. A close relative of my wife’s died a couple months ago.
We considered him a victim of COVID-19, even though he was never diagnosed with it.
However, he went into deep depression during the lockdown phase of life.
A single man in his 70s, when he couldn’t socialize with the neighbors or get out to the grocery store or church, he withered. Literally. He lost 35 pounds when he didn’t have that much to spare in the first place.
Fortunately, once another relative informed us of what was going on, we made the hour-long drive to see him and spend several hours together. A month later, he was gone, leaving us grateful for that last visit.
Gather at the Table
The relative who called us will be with us for Thanksgiving, if the latest COVID flare-ups don’t interrupt our plans. If they go as anticipated, our table will still host (as many leaders suggest) under 10 people.
Maybe your holiday will feature a modest roster of guests too, maybe smaller than you had planned or hope. To that I say: be grateful for each person who is there, even if that is only one or two.
Life includes heartache as well as joy. It’s an inescapable element of living in an imperfect, sin-scarred world. But the pain, suffering, and setbacks we encounter shouldn’t deter us from giving thanks to the God who makes life possible.
In our case, we will celebrate Thanksgiving with the knowledge we will one day see my wife’s relative again.
At his funeral, a fellow church member talked of stopping by his house the week before he died for a long talk and prayer, a visit which brought tears to our relative’s eyes.
We’ll shed a few of our own on Thanksgiving, since our relative was planning on being here too. But we know our separation is only temporary. That is something for which we are thankful.