“Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2
Last Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., we hadn’t heard of COVID.
It’s been a long, wearying year since then. For some families, it’s been devastating. Loss of loved ones. Loss of finances, freedom, friendships.
Our hospital is close to maxing out on COVID patient beds. Many of the ill are on ventilators. Some will not see Christmas. Hospital staff are worn out and despaired, even with the glimmer of hope for a vaccine release before long.
In God’s Word, though, being thankful isn’t an option. Jesus knows our sadness…He was a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. But our relationship with Him isn’t based on our earthly circumstances, good or bad. It’s rooted in His love and goodness, even in hard times.
We’re commanded in Psalm 100 to enter His presence with joy, gladness, singing, thanksgiving, and praise…we’re called to bless His name. So how can we do that this year? How can we thank Him in loss? In separation from family? In time of want, not plenty?
Maybe we can start by finding reasons to be thankful for COVID, and much of it has to do with time.
Are you homeschooling for awhile? Count it a blessing to spend time with your children, and learn admiration for the hard job that teachers perform every day.
Are you reading more? It seems people have found time to catch up on books, articles, and other enlightening reads. Maybe you’ve become a little bit smarter.
Are you re-discovering the great outdoors? You can leave COVID behind when you trek outside in the vastness of God’s beautiful landscapes. His natural surroundings bring us all renewal in physical and mental health.
Are you able to spend more quiet time with God? If your busyness has slowed down, take advantage of the extra hours to engage with Him in prayer.
Here are more “silver linings” discovered by some of my friends:
- “I’m so very thankful for the blessing of time with our adult children. I never expected to have our boys back home for an extended stay, but remote work and school brought them back for several months. What a joy!! I’ve also come to a higher level of appreciation of the gift of Christian fellowship. I can’t begin to tell how much I’ve enjoyed outdoor walks/hikes and talks! Nourishment for my soul!”—Mary
- “My husband has been working from home since it started, and we have had the best quality time. He hopes to be able to continue working from home indefinitely.”—Jessica
- “I’m learning to love being home.”—Allison
- “I have enjoyed cooking and not eating fast food. I’ve also enjoyed being home more, even though I worked most of the time—just fewer hours, and I was blessed to be paid the entire time!”—Laurie
- “I’m seeing God in all things.”—Wendy
- “I’m thankful for my health, thankful that I have virtually everything I need and most of the things I want. If I happen to need groceries or medicine, I can order them online to put in my car or go to a drive-up window. Another blessing is that I’ve started intentionally making phone calls to re-establish connections with people I had not talked with in a while…former bosses and co-workers, people off my beaten path…and everyone wants to chat. Ask yourself often, ‘What can I do for someone to help them have a better day?’”—Rebecca
- “My daughter says bonding with her brother. They talk about stuff more and better understand each other. Virtual school has let me be a part of their education again after going back to work from homeschooling. I watch birds more, and the slower pace lets me enjoy little joys of nature.”—Mary
- “One significant discovery about 2020 and COVID’s restructuring our lives is that it has slowed the pace of life. I do not have to be busy every minute of every day. That is a good thing.”—Suzy
- “It has been so hard…but God’s faithful presence has been evident in sweet and deeper moments with family, increasing my interdependence on the local body of Christ in our community, helping me to deal with becoming flexible, and relying on His grace in teaching online.”—Ruth
- “I’m grateful we’re all healthy, but I want my husband back in an office and not working 20 hours a day because he can’t get away from it. There are more stressors than I can count, but we’re healthy.”—Michele
- “I’m grateful that COVID has made people more open to hearing the gospel.”—Rhonda
- “I manage the thrift store for the SPCA for our county. Because people stayed home, they cleaned out closets, garages, and sheds…they brought us the accumulative wealth of over-abundance. Our store is now stocked with a ready reserve that will last a long time. We thank them and are extremely grateful for their generosity.”—Penny
- “I am extremely thankful for the time I got to spend with my children, living with us for more than two months during the spring and summer. After being far away, one has temporarily relocated back to our town, and the others have moved to a nearby city! I am blessed to have my children near again…thank you COVID!!”—Katherine
My hope is you’ll find something in your life to take to the Lord in heartfelt thankfulness. May this Thanksgiving remind you of the daily privileges He gives us…and may we all find reasons to praise Him in 2021 as well.
Gracious and loving Father, as this year comes to a close, turn our eyes toward You. Let us find our joy in praising You for who You are—the One who created us for a relationship with You. Give us thankful hearts in being the sheep of Your pasture. Open our eyes to the privileges we have every day in leaning on You…You are our Strong Tower, our Refuge in times of despair. Make us more and more grateful for all You have given us, especially eternal life in Jesus Christ. In His name we pray, Amen.
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