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Giving Thanks - in Spite of it All!

Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! – 1 Chronicles 16:8-9


It is the week of Thanksgiving! I love the holidays and usually am getting geared up for decorating and planning for Thanksgiving, making Christmas lists and shopping, doing some baking. Usually, by now, I’m feeling some renewed energy and motivation for doing special things. But, the year 2020 is different on so many levels, isn’t it? Who would have thought we would be wearing masks whenever we go out, staying home most of the time, working from home, kids going to school online, worshiping online, meetings on Zoom. We do shopping online and picking up groceries after ordering online. Across the nation, we are being advised to not have big family gatherings, to not travel for Thanksgiving because of the pandemic that has struck, not only in our country but across the globe.


Oh, but that’s not all! Those things should be enough for us, but there is more! We’ve had riots, destruction, violence in the streets of our cities, large crowds protesting, historic symbols torn down, history being canceled, an election that is going on and on, deep division across political lines, natural disasters, etc., etc., etc.


I don’t know about you but I’m pretty much over the year 2020.


And, clearly, all this has affected my inspiration to write. It’s been weeks and weeks since I have posted a blog or a live video, or written on my novel. I want to do it but I have been in a slump, or a slimy pit that seems difficult to crawl out of. And I know I am not the only one feeling this way.


But I’ve been thinking about all this in the past couple of days, after hearing a very inspirational sermon last Sunday on being thankful. I really do have so much to be thankful for! I have no real reason to be “down in the dumps,” as the saying goes.


I have family members who have been sick but are feeling better, friends who had Covid-19 who have recovered, I have my daughter and her family living right across the hall from us and their family, and Fred and I, will be together for Thanksgiving because we practically live together anyway. I am healthy and so is my husband. We have a new addition to our little family – Marlee is a five-month-old Golden Doodle who is active, healthy and energetic and who makes us laugh with joy. We love our apartment that is warm and safe. We have plenty of food and just enough money to have what we need. Our children and grandchildren who live in Kansas and Oklahoma are all well and happy too, and I had the blessing of getting to travel and see them this past summer.


I have no reason to not be thankful. But, with all those blessings in my life, there is an even greater reason to be thankful. It is the reason that I should always be inspired to write. I have faith in God who has been faithful to me all my life. God, who created the beauty of the earth that I look out at from my third story window and enjoy every day; God, who named me as his own daughter at the moment of my profession of faith, who anointed me with the Holy Spirit at my baptism. This is God who sent Jesus, his Son, to show us God’s love and to teach us God’s ways; Jesus who gave his very life for my sin so that I would have forgiveness and grace and life eternal. God, who assures us that our faithful loved ones who have gone before us, are in a heavenly home with him.


My heavenly Father has never failed me – whether I was in a place of happiness or sorrow. He is always with me, providing and comforting, encouraging, guiding, discipling and always, always loving. God gave us the Holy Spirit that makes us aware of his presence, that leads us to prayer and praise, that convicts us when we sin and that assures us of grace.

God is faithful – not just to me, of course – but to you as well. If we had absolutely nothing else to praise God for, we would still have plenty to be thankful for because of the rich blessings he has poured over us in the gift of himself.


We are not the only people in history who have endured a hardship. Since the beginning of time with the fall of humanity there have been catastrophes, wars, diseases, natural disasters, dictators, persecutors, starvation – the list goes on and on. But throughout all of those things, God has been faithful to be with us, to help his people, to give blessings even in tragedy and to give joy even in sorrow.


This is Thanksgiving. I invite you to set aside the things you are upset about, the things you are afraid of or worried about, let go of the things that make you angry in our world. Take some time to count your blessings and give thanks to a great and faithful God who is with you, who will never fail you.


Be sure to listen to the hymn, sung by my sister, Cindy Powell – Great is Thy Faithfulness.

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. – Psalm 107:1


Happy, Blessed Thanksgiving!

Sharlyn




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© 2020 by Dr. Sharlyn DeHaven Gates