Jerry often says the hardest sermons to write are around holidays. It can seem everything that could be said has already been said.
I’m inclined to agree as I’ve gone through several options for today’s post.
All of them have been shelved in favor of a future date because what I really want to say is not clever or anything you haven’t heard before.
It’s simply this— first, stay as safe as possible, and second, be thankful.
I’ve been reading again about the 1918-1919 Spanish flu pandemic because it helps me realize that these are not as some have said, “unprecedented times.” At least as far as the pandemic is concerned. In fact, when I read historical accounts, much of what we are going through today, our grand parents and great- grandparents faced. They also encountered political and civil unrest in addition to the pandemic. In fact, WWI and the pandemic overlapped so it had to seem as if the world was in chaos.
By October of 1918, 200,000 had died since March when the flu first surfaced. But on Armistice Day in November, many took their masks off in celebration. By January after family holiday gatherings, the nation was ravaged by the virus and would go on to see more than 675,000 Americans die from the disease before it diminished in the summer of 1919.
So, what I’m saying here is, let’s not do that again. Simple measures will go a long way in keeping us from repeating history. Let’s do what we need to do for our health care workers, for our elderly, for those with underlying issues.
Next, let’s be thankful. And I’m not talking about throwing a blanket of “Thank you God for everything” kind of prayer out there, but despite all that swirls around us, let’s take the time to count our blessings.
One by one.
In the words of a great old hymn, when you do that, “. . . it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.” When we shift our attention from what’s going off the rails to all that God is doing and has done, we gain a new perspective.
Especially on my heart is so many in my sphere are grieving the loss of someone dear and facing the holidays for the first time without someone they love. This has been an unimaginably hard year for those who are grieving because of isolation. Let’s remember them in our prayers and maybe with a phone call or text.
2020 has seemed as a song lyric I heard recently, “the longest year in history.” But if we could speak to our ancestors, I’m sure they would offer us hope to persevere. They did and we can, too.
I’ll say it again. Be safe. Be thankful.
Let me encourage you with these verses, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Dear friends, may you have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving and may His unshakable peace be yours despite these challenging times.