In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV
In the United States, Thursday, November 26, is a national holiday that commemorates the harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621. Thanksgiving Day is a day to give thanks.
All of us will agree that 2020 has been a challenging year. We have encountered numerous situations that may be causing us to wonder how to be thankful on Thanksgiving. However, God desires us to always have a thankful heart. The point to remember from this verse in I Thessalonians is that we are to give thanks in all situations – not for all situations.
Let’s think about an acronym for THANKS that will help us be thankful in 2020.
T = TIME
Psalm 118:24 NKJV says, “This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Each day we are given 24 hours of time. During the pandemic shutdown, we had extra time when normal commitments were not required. We had time to do things we previously did not have time to do. More time for family. More time for home projects. More time for God. We were given the opportunity to devote more time developing our relationship with God and going deeper into the Word. I have heard it said that sometimes the worst of times can also be the best of times.
H = HEALTH
God declares in Exodus 15:26, “I am the LORD, who heals you.” Jesus fulfills this scripture a multitude of times throughout the New Testament.
Our need for the Lord as our Healer has been accentuated by the pandemic. Those of us who have not contracted COVID are thankful for health. Those who have recovered from the virus are thankful. Family members of those who were not healed need healing from their grief. The Lord is our Healer spiritually, emotionally and physically. When focusing upon health, we must also be thankful for our healthcare workers who continue to give sacrificially.
A = AMERICA
Psalm 33:12 states, “Blessed the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose for His inheritance.“
I sing and pray the words of God Bless America.
In spite of all we have encountered during 2020, we are still a democratic nation. We have the privilege of voting for our leaders. We are a melting pot of races and nationalities striving to learn more of how to best offer equality and freedom to all. We proclaim through the words of the pledge of allegiance to our flag that we are “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.” ALL regardless of race. ALL regardless of gender. ALL regardless of political party. ALL regardless of religion. The Pilgrims came to America for religious freedom – and they were the originators of Thanksgiving.
N = NEIGHBORS
Jesus says, in Mark 23:31, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
In Luke 10:29, Jesus is asked “Who is my neighbor?” He responds by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan. Verse 37 reveals that “The one who showed him mercy” is the neighbor to the wounded man.
We have had many opportunities to love our neighbors this year. Personally, we have had more interaction with people in our neighborhood since many people are out for walks. Even while social distancing, we have waved to more of our neighbors than usual. There are many people who have been wounded in various ways. Let us show mercy. Matthew 5:7 says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” I am thankful for law enforcement officials who keep our neighborhoods safe. This includes neighbors next door and neighbors across our nation.
K = KINDNESS
Ephesians 4:32 NKJV instructs, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” According to Galatians 5:22-23, kindness is included in fruit of the Spirit.
Kindness has abounded! During the shutdown, people were helping people. Our daughter-in-law became our primary grocery shopper when it did not seem same for us to be in public because we are in the more vulnerable age group. A friend baked bread and shared it with families who were unable to find bread in stores. Our grandchildren chalked encouraging words on driveways. They did errands for family and friends.
S = SEASONS
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Verses 1-8 list specific seasons we encounter.
This season of a pandemic and protests and political strife may be lasting longer than we prefer. However, God is with us and we will get through it.
I believe we will be stronger because of what we have encountered. Romans 8:28 reminds us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
Let us give THANKS for
Time – Health – America – Neighbors – Kindness – Seasons
Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
His love endures forever. – Psalm 106:1
I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.
– Psalm 34:1