With the holidays fast approaching, I find myself frustrated because holiday traditions that have been a part of my life for as long as I remember have been disrupted. The joy, the hustle & bustle, the overwhelming stress of coordinating holiday schedules, the time spent with friends and extended family, and that feeling of running madly toward the finish line of festivities are all different or nonexistent this year. Maybe some of these things needed to go and I am sure I will be glad at the end of the year that I didn’t try to cram in 15 different events in two weeks.
Nevertheless, I am saddened because it doesn’t FEEL like a time of celebration. When I leave my home, the anger, the oppression, the fear, the division, the anxiety, the impatience, the depression, and the isolation run deep, and they feel almost palpable.
Joy, happiness, and excitement are difficult, if not impossible, to find.
So, are we just stuck here? Are we destined to play out this endless cycle of negativity and despair?
While it seems like the world keeps smacking us down every time we try to get up, we–as Christ-followers—are not defeated.
Open up your Bible & READ! If you are born-again, the Spirit of the living God is in you!
ROMANS 8:9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
God does not give us a spirit of fear! He gives us a spirit of power, love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)
We are overcomers. We do not have to live in fear, in oppression, in depression, and under enemy lies. We are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus!
1 JOHN 4:4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
ROMANS 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
We have the joy of the Lord. It is a fruit of the spirit and it provides us strength!
NEHEMIAH 8:10b Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
We KNOW these things. But in these times, why is it so difficult to LIVE these things?
We can find the answer in God’s Word. Look in Psalms, In Daniel. In the Gospels and the Epistles. Throughout the Old and New Testament, we see God’s people time and again giving thanks to God.
Giving thanks in good times. Giving thanks in sorrow. Giving thanks while facing persecution.
The Bible tells us to give thanks in ALL circumstances.
1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Are you thankful? Do you spend your praying thanking the Lord or is your prayer only devoted to petitions? Are you meditating on God’s Word, His blessings, and His victories in your life and others?
PHILIPPIANS 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
There have been many times this year that I have spent more time focusing on the wrongs in this world rather than being thankful.
So, despite all of the chaos of 2020, what are you thankful for? Here is some of my list…
I am thankful for my always faithful church steadfastly preaching the whole counsel of God.
I am thankful for the slowed-down schedule because it has given me time to pray about the direction the Lord is leading our family in and to spend more time in the Word.
I am thankful for the time together as a family – with only a few years left of having children under eighteen, I am so grateful for any moments that I can spend with them.
I am thankful because I am able to spend intentional time with my husband.
I am thankful for provision, the food I eat, the bed I sleep in, the clothes I wear, the car I drive…
I can keep going on and on! The list of things that I am thankful for far outweighs everything else that is going on.
But above all, I am thankful for God’s gift of His Son.
JOHN 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Everything that is happening today is just temporary. Today it is one thing. Tomorrow it will be something else. We can choose to be victims, or we can choose to be victorious through Christ Jesus.
Choose victory, my friends! Be thankful. Walk with joy. Spread the good news of Jesus.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving!