“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
While Thanksgiving has not been the first holiday affected this year, it may feel more substantial than some of our previously modified celebrations. How are we supposed to adopt a posture of thanksgiving when dealing with suspended family gatherings, postponed traditions, an unknown future, and frustration at the not-yet-resolved present?
I get it. Many will feel the loss of normalcy this holiday season, and I think that’s okay. We don’t need to shy away from the sadness, disappointment, and grief. Let’s collectively agree that those feelings are valid.
And yet, today is also a day to intentionally contemplate thankfulness. Though we as believers are called to live in this posture on more than the third Thursday of November.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Paul writes, “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Thankful in all circumstances? If your heart has not been characterized by thankfulness this year, know that it hasn’t for me either. I am grateful for the intentional time spent reflecting on this year’s blessings. Here are a few things I am thankful for from this year:
-My best friend became my husband 3 months ago.
-I finally found the time to read for pleasure.
-I took more walks around my neighborhood than ever before, and consequently saw neighbors I haven’t seen in years.
-My uncle and I advanced to the third round in a fiction writing contest we compete in annually.
-I had many sweet lawn chair visits with friends.
As I reflect on these things, I already sense some of this year’s burden lifting. I feel brighter.
No matter where or how you are celebrating today, consider taking a moment (or several) to think on what you’re thankful for. Then, let’s continue this practice until our current circumstances change. We all need a little more joy in this present season.