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Reasons to be Thankful

Christmas Is Coming

November 25, 2020 by

We all know 2020 has been the year when nothing has been normal, and it might seem there is little to be thankful for. Nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, the trials of this year give us opportunity to revisit the deeper meaning of Thanksgiving, and to be thankful for the blessings that we each do have.

Thanksgiving, followed closely by Advent, the start of the Christmas season, has always been a time when families gather and spend time together. Yes, in many places the colder weather makes that impossible. Even the joy of eating outdoors, safely socializing in parks or backyards, is coming to an end. But in spite of that, and in spite of all that has happened this year, we can and should celebrate and give thanks, even if in small numbers and different circumstances.

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Scripture reminds us:

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)

For most people, the customs and traditions will be drastically different. And many thousands of families will have empty places at their Thanksgiving table this year. As a nation, we must unitedly grieve and mourn together with all those who have lost a loved one, to Covid-19, but also to other tragedies or circumstances.

With increasing restrictions, rising numbers of cases of Covid-19, more deaths, and burn-out from months of lockdown, there are very real fears that trouble our hearts and fill our minds. Food banks and neighborhood support networks are straining to provide assistance to those who have lost their jobs this year. Schools are desperately trying to educate our young people in the limited way available to them. And scientists and pharmaceutical companies are scrambling to mass-produce vaccines and prepare the infrastructure to distribute them around the world.

Still, whether or not families can gather in person, there must be something that each one of us can be thankful for, be it gratitude for health, shelter, or a job. Even amidst suffering and uncertainty, we can give thanks. This pandemic has reminded us how precious life is, how easy it is to take each other for granted, and how material things matter little when life is at stake. It has also taught us how much we must pray and care for those less fortunate. If in each house, apartment, hospital, care home, or gathering (in permissible numbers), all express what they are thankful for and think of someone who especially needs their prayers, just imagine how many prayers will rise up and reach God.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

ThanksgivingEmbedPhoto by Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash

So as the days get colder, darker, and life might seem more hopeless, now is the time to look to the light. Thinking about all the worries and frustrations that lurk in our hearts will not make us more peaceful. That is why this Thanksgiving we must turn our hearts to hope, and look to the love and light that Christmas represents – the coming of Jesus into our midst.

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About the author

Paul Winter

Paul Winter

Paul Winter serves as the Elder of the Bruderhof. He lives with his wife, Betty, at the Maple Ridge Bruderhof.

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