2020. What a year!
The other day as I was doing a little online shopping, I kept coming across gifts expressing just that sentiment. Here are a few:
I have to admit, the one that said "I love you more than toilet paper" cracked me up. Yet, it was accurate! No matter who you are, when you look back on 2020, you could probably make quite a list of things that didn’t go as planned, unmet expectations, curve balls, and unexpected struggles. Yet, as we approach Thanksgiving, I’m reminded of the words to a song that may challenge us to gain a fresh perspective.
They were going through my head just a few days ago reminding me:
“All of my life, in every season….
You are still God, and I have a reason to sing,
I have a reason to worship.”
(Desert Song, Hillsong United, 2010)
Of course, this sentiment isn’t new—it’s all over Scripture:
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thes 5:18)
Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:19-20)
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. (Hebrews 13:15)
I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips. (Psalm 34:1)
One of my personal favorites Habakkuk 3:17-19:
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.
No matter the season of life, there is a reason to worship, and there is a reason to give thanks.
True, this Thanksgiving and Christmas may not look you thought they would. It may be a little different or very different from holidays past. Maybe it’s the pandemic, or perhaps its significant events in YOUR world that are causing the change. Can I encourage you, as one who has walked through many painful and difficult seasons of life, to remember that in every season, God is still with you?
He still has you in the palm of His hand. He still controls the future. As His follower, there is still reason to worship, and there is still reason to celebrate Thanksgiving.
As we head into the holiday week, I encourage you to take some time and reflect on the reasons that YOU have to be thankful. Make your own Thanksgiving list, including the people you were stuck inside with during the pandemic, God’s provision, His faithfulness to you, His healing, His salvation, and His promise of eternal life.
You can even thank God for toilet paper (who’d a thought we’d say that a year ago?).
We can thank God for Zoom (even though it isn’t ideal—where would we be without it?).
Thank God for preachers and teachers who learned to adapt and for online church that allowed the Gospel to be preached, church families to stay connected, and discipleship to continue.
We can be thankful for masks (I know I don’t like them either), but they let us get out of the house.
We can thank God for doctors and nurses who cared for the sick. We can thank God for scientists who are working on treatments and a vaccine. For all the people who built ventilators to those who kept our grocery shelves stocked, we can thank God.
Let’s not forget all of those people that we found out are so essential to our lives—like hairdressers and dentists. Let’s be honest—we need these people in our lives!!
The point is, don’t let the differences and possible difficulties of this season keep you from remembering that no matter the season, there is always a reason to be thankful.
Even though it may take extra effort, let’s choose that we are going to celebrate this Thanksgiving like never before. Let our hearts be filled with worship and thanksgiving for our God, Who is always faithful, always true, and always walking alongside His people.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.