Things are a little different this year, but nevertheless, Thanksgiving offers us the opportunity to express gratitude for all the ways the Lord has cared for us over this extraordinary year.
Below are prayerful reflections from each of us here at Faithwire.
Dan Andros, managing editor
“2020 has been horrible, I can’t wait for it to be over.”
That’s been a common refrain this year, and on the surface, there are plenty of reasons that justify this sort of a reaction to a challenging year on many fronts: a pandemic, a heated election, division, protests, riots, and the list goes on.
As someone who monitors the news closely for a living and has done so for over two decades, I can confirm this has been quite the year. It certainly is tempting to just throw our hands up in the air and join the chorus of complaints, attempting to ride out the remainder of 2020 with a bit of gallows humor.
When I read Scripture, however, I see a different mentality promoted. God often reminds us, as in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” We, because it is a fallen world, tend to put ourselves at the center of the universe; it’s our default mode. And when things don’t go our way, we panic. We question.
We truly do have so much to be thankful for. Back in October, I took my family to Plymouth, Massachusetts. Docked there in the harbor is the Mayflower II, a replica of the ship that saw about 135 people climb aboard for a journey in which they couldn’t possibly know what to expect.
They didn’t know of the troubles they’d face on the open seas.
They didn’t know what conflict would arise on the ship itself, confined in close quarters and difficult conditions for weeks and months at a time. They didn’t know what would be awaiting them on the other side, what life would have in store for them, what hostilities they may face.
What they did know, however, is God is bigger than anything they could ever dream to be a part of. As recorded in the Mayflower Compact, they committed their endeavor for “the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith” before disembarking the ship.
God has a purpose in everything — even in the year 2020. In this season of uncertainty, instead of giving into the fear and frustration, let’s keep to the front of our minds that God never stops working, and His plans will never be thwarted. Let’s have hearts of gratitude, thankful for every opportunity to advance the Christian faith in the midst of any and every trial, situation, and obstacle we may face the rest of 2020 and into 2021.
This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad! Happy Thanksgiving!
Tré Goins-Phillips, editor and writer
I’m reminded this Thanksgiving of Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi. Those four chapters are often referred to as the apostle’s “joy letter,” as even from prison — when his circumstances were far less than ideal — he rejoiced. In thanking the Philippians for their financial support, Paul said he was grateful for their concern, but assured them he had no needs, because he had “learned how to be content with whatever I have” (Philippians 4:11).
Certainly if Paul could write such joy-filled words from a dark and dusty prison cell, we, too, can find satisfaction and contentment — even in the midst of the frustrating, inconvenient, and despairing circumstances of 2020.
This season has been so trying. For some, it has been heartbreaking: they’ve lost loved ones, livelihoods, and even dreams. It’s human nature to allow those very real and deep hurts to reign over us, but thank God we have a hope that carries us through it. Just as a diamond shines brightest against a black backdrop, so God’s grace and goodness through His son Jesus is at its most brilliant when we most need it.
My prayer this Thanksgiving is that, in our present situation, we will recognize all the ways in which God has blessed us, finding contentment in Christ alone. I pray in that contentment, we will have eyes to see with clarity the needs of those around us and step up to do what we can for those in need this unusual holiday season.
Whether you’re seeing your family and friends in person today or gathering virtually, I pray you are safe, joyful, and content. Happy Thanksgiving!
Sara Laughlin, director of digital content
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. — Psalms 107:1
Living in New York City during COVID has been a surreal experience. When it all started, the city was quiet, there was a hospital in Central Park (Thank you, Samaritan’s Purse!) and there was a mobile morgue just a couple blocks from my apartment. Instead of giving into worry, I thought a lot about the Bible verse above, and a viral video of the happiest child I’ve ever seen singing “Old Church Choir” in front of her church.
If you’re not familiar with the song, the punchline is: “There ain’t nothing gonna steal my joy.”
Truly helpless against a global pandemic, it would have been easy to walk around the barren streets of Manhattan focusing on the negative: the shuttered stores, the canceled events, the heartbreaking mobile morgues outside our hospitals, and the uncertainty of what the future would hold for me, my family, the city, and the world.
But if COVID gave me anything this year, it was gratitude for my Christian faith.
I know I cannot change what I cannot control, but I can find comfort in knowing God is in control of all things, and my joy doesn’t live or die with the current conditions of the world around me. I can’t say that my mind never wanders into worry about the future, but none of those worries can steal my joy. That joy is found in Christ, who died on the cross for my salvation even though I did not deserve it. That joy is eternal.
There is nothing to be more grateful about than that!
So today, while my husband and I will be spending Thanksgiving in our apartment, FaceTiming our families in Georgia and Iowa, we aren’t going to let the conditions of a pandemic distract us from the multitude of blessings in our lives. My prayer for you is that you do the same. While we may be socially distant, we don’t have to be spiritually distant.
It’s been a hard year — for some the hardest year. So, however you are spending Thanksgiving this year, my prayer is that you will “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever,” and you don’t let ANYTHING “steal your joy.” In fact, the odds are, you know someone going through a hard time right now. Find a way to spread that joy with them. Happy Thanksgiving!
So from our families here at Faithwire to yours, wherever you are this Thanksgiving, may God bless you and those you love.