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Thanksgiving During a Pandemic

This morning as I was thinking about Thanksgiving, I knew I ought to post something on this site. It has been months since I have done that. I won’t even try to list the reasons (excuses? My mother used to say “An excuse is a skin of a reason, stuffed with a lie.”).

Then, I did what I usually do when I post. I looked at past posts and sermons or other things I have written on the topic. As I looked at the post for a year ago, I read what I think fits our present circumstances. So, I hope you find meaning for this time as I post it again, with a few editorial changes.

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Today in countless homes, in all kinds of places people will think about and tell about things for which they are thankful. The list is long for most of us and most of us realize there are even more things than we are aware of.

However, the most intense moments of thankfulness are not found in times of plenty, but when difficulties abound. Think of the Pilgrims that first Thanksgiving. Half their number was dead, they were without a country, life was difficult, but still there was thanksgiving to God. Their gratitude was not for something but in something. It was that same sense of gratitude that led Abraham Lincoln to formally establish the first Thanksgiving Day in the midst of national civil war, when the “butcher’s list of casualties” seemed to have no end and the very nation  struggled for survival.

It is exactly the type of situation referred to in the Bible: give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (I Thessalonians 5:18) Our list of “fors” might be short. Perhaps in your own life, right now, there is intense hardship. Try following the directions of the Psalmist: Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth… Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. -Psalms 100:1a, 4 (NIV)

Praising God, giving thanks won’t change your circumstances but it will change you. True thanksgiving is accompanied by joy. Through grace it is God’s gift to you.

Have a joyful Thanksgiving Day!

P.S. A personal story: Today I started my day with this song that I had not thought about for a long time and I experienced the results of praising God.
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