“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name. For the Lord is good, and his faithful love endures forever; his faithfulness, through all generations.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Today is the day: Black Friday’s Eve! No? Kick-off to Christmas? Still not doing it for you? Fine, it’s the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Day! Okay, okay, I know what today is. Today is Thanksgiving. This is the day our nation has had set aside in some form of fashion for giving thanks (exactly to whom and for what is worthy of some attention another time) since the very earliest days of our nation. I suspect you have many traditions already set in place for today (plans that probably include our culture’s three great F’s—family, food, and football), but I hope you have some time set aside to be intentionally grateful and to practice that gratitude in some tangible ways. As for me, here’s another thing for which I am thankful.
Today, given the day, I’m going to get down to the basics and do it quickly. I’m thankful for a God to whom I can be thankful. I know, know, that sounds like something a preacher would say, or maybe a pat Sunday school answer, but hear me out.
This has been a tough year. Are you with me? When the calendar turned over from 2019 to 2020, most of us were filled with hope. It wasn’t just the hope of a new year, but of a whole new decade. Who knows what could have happened in the years ahead. I mean, sure, there were increasingly alarming reports about this mystery virus in China that seemed to be wreaking havoc on the city of Wuhan and spreading quickly from there, but mystery viruses had come and gone over the last several years and none of them had amounted to much here so we were probably fine.
And now, more than 250,000 dead later, we have pretty much realized how profoundly wrong we were. Where we stand now, we are broken in ways that will take several years to even begin to fully understand. The shape of the last nine months will shape the next generation. Some things will never be the same. We are reminded of this once again on this very day as many of us are celebrating a cherished tradition in ways that are decidedly non-traditional.
We serve a God who is still good. His faithful love endures forever. His faithfulness lasts through all generations. Even this one. Even this next one when we begin to discover just how thoroughly this mess has left us all changed.
Let’s start with this: If you’re reading this blog, you’re still alive (at least, I don’t think I have any readers on the other side of the grave…). That means that you either haven’t caught or have recovered from COVID. That’s something for which to be thankful. That’s the goodness of God.
There’s a vaccine on the horizon. The near horizon. Nine months ago, confident epidemiologists didn’t think this would be possible in the space of a less than a year if at all. Here we are on the cusp of having four, all of which are looking to be far more effective than anyone expected or hoped when this process started. Along the way, researchers have learned about how to make vaccines that may prove helpful for developing future vaccines.
Along the way, although things have been hard in ways that are sometimes still hard to imagine, marriages have gotten stronger. Personal debt has decreased. Relationships have developed. Retirement accounts have increased. People are generally more considerate of one another than they used to be. And although many churches have struggled mightily, the church is surging as believers have been forced to take their faith home and live it out wherever they are. The potential future impact of the Gospel coming out of all of this may be bigger than anyone now is imagining.
And we have yet to see all the ways our God will show Himself faithful in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead. For that we can be thankful. We should be thankful. And today is a perfectly fine day to express it. Every day is a perfectly fine day to express it.
As you gather with whoever you happen to be gathering with today, how might you be intentional in expressing your gratitude? How might you enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise? For He is good and His faithfulness endures to all generations. Happy Thanksgiving! May your day be joyful and filled with much gratitude.