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When it’s hard to be thankful

Updated: Nov 26, 2020

Updated November, 25th 2020

Well the Big Day of Turkey is here! That means you better start making those casseroles and pies soon. If you are like our family, you probably have to make one more run to the grocery store and experience a horrible melt down when you tell your kids they have to clean their room because company is coming. And while you will inevitably get frustrated with the tantrum they are throwing because they have to pick up their toys- the truth is we feel the same way as the kids. Society just frowns upon adults openly weeping because they have to clean the living room floor. But make no mistake- we want to!

But with the turkey, dressing, and pecan pie comes this other reality that you might be equally as unprepared for… the expectation that you should be thankful.

I mean this is THANKSgiving after all.

Now deep down inside we all know there are plenty of things to be thankful for. Odds are if you are reading this you have running water, a shelter over your head and people in your life that you love. But sometimes there are seasons in life that carry such a dark cloud that we can’t even seem to focus on all the things in our life that should lead us to being thankful. And 2020 is petty much that season.

Maybe as you prepare your Green Bean Casserole (a requirement for any Thanksgiving spread) the smile you put on your face when your family member walks into the kitchen is completely fake. Maybe the truth is that this Thanksgiving you are filled with anxiety, sadness, grief, loneliness and frustration.

Maybe your job is overwhelming or unsatisfying, your marriage is falling apart, your kid is rebelling, or your bank account isn’t ready for Black Friday. Maybe a family member has COVID or your just consumed with anxiety because of what you see on the news each day. Maybe you have experienced a loss in 2020 that devastated you or maybe you just had another discouraging conversation with your doctor.

You know it’s Thanksgiving – but it’s hard to be thankful.

If that is you today – I want to remind you of a couple of things…

1) It’s OK to not be OK

If you are struggling to focus on the good things this Thanksgiving season it doesn’t make you a terrible person. It doesn’t make you ungrateful. It makes you human. We will all experience seasons of sadness and loneliness – just because yours coincides with a time that the Pilgrims ate corn with some Native Americans doesn’t mean it’s invalid. Ecclesiastes 3:1–4 puts it this way…

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…

It’s OK to not be OK

Which leads me to the second thing…

2) This season won’t last forever.

I saw a meme a few weeks ago that literally made me laugh out loud. It was a church sign that read,

“This too shall pass. It might pass like a kidney stone – but it will pass.”

I cracked up because as someone who has passed my fair share of kidney stones and experienced several seasons of difficulties - I know all too well that every season does come to an end - sometimes it just brings you to your knees first.

What you are going through is frustrating. Your grief is legitimate, and your anxiety is understandable. But this season doesn’t last forever. This pandemic will end. This grief will loosen its grip.

David says this is Psalm 30:4-5,

“Sing to the Lord, you saints of his; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

So this Thanksgiving it’s OK to not be OK. But in the midst of all the food, football and family or maybe even quarantine– may God give you a gentle reminder that a season of rejoicing is coming soon! Maybe it even starts today;)

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Oh, and 1 last thing… Cranberry Sauce is not Thanksgiving food – It’s from a can people!!!

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