Thanksgiving 2020: How can we be thankful with COVID-19, an unresolved Presidential election, business closures, mask mandates, and social distancing?
Thanksgiving 2020 is perhaps the most unusual Thanksgiving we have had since November 2001 following 9/11. Back then we were all shell-shocked by the horror of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as well as United Airlines Flight 93 which crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Not since then has our country faced such upheaval as we do on Thanksgiving 2020.
Now we face turmoil from COVID-19 as well as the most hotly-contested election in our nation’s history. Death threats have been made and people have been vilified and demonized for holding different political views. Riots have destroyed businesses and property in multiple states, while other business have been forced to close due to Coronavirus. Social media has polarized our country by encouraging only one political point of view. Children are being exploited like never before by the education system, the media, sexual predators and sometimes even their parents.
In the midst of this, families have been told they cannot gather, or they cannot invite friends, or they must all wear masks, and those who do plan a small gathering are still concerned about trips to the grocery store. How can we feel thankful during a pandemic when many state governments are saying “do not gather to celebrate Thanksgiving.”
Sometime prior to 2012, I compiled a list of Thanksgiving Scriptures. I have added to them a bit through the years. It is interesting to note that these verses were often written in the midst of persecution and war. The Psalmist, David was hunted by Saul. He lost his beloved but rebellious son Absalom. The Israelites who wrote other Old Testament scriptures about thankfulness were often persecuted in places like Egypt, Babylonia and Persia while scripture was being recorded. The early Christians who completed the scripture record were also persecuted to the point of death by Rome and other countries where they went as missionaries. Yet God’s people remained thankful. Somehow, no matter what disease, war or politics have brought, God’s people have found reason to thank Him and praise Him.
Do not be anxious about anything, But in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7
Here are a few suggestions for Thanksgiving 2020.
Go ahead and put the tree up. Trim it and turn the lights on. Put your decorations up and enjoy your favorite family traditions. Let them remind you of holidays past and the joy you have experienced.
Turn on Christmas music. SiriusXM is already bringing Holiday Cheer to the airwaves. In Nashville 92.9 and 94FM the Fish both start their Christmas programming now. Dig our your DCs and play your favorite holiday music. While there are a few “Blue Christmas” tunes playing on radio stations, most Christmas music is joyful, fun, inspirational and/or uplifting.
Be with your loved ones. Join your family and friends for Thanksgiving. If your extended family cannot invite you due to size restrictions, find a few misplaced friends and host Thanksgiving at your house, or brave a local restaurant with friends. Wear your mask if it’s mandated, and be mindful of social distancing, but don’t let fear keep you in total seclusion. If you have to stay home, pull out your cell phone and call a few friends to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving, and take a walk around your neighborhood to get out of the house.
Search scripture. Look for Bible verses on thankfulness and for Bible wisdom to inspire you.
Remember Who is in control. God is in control, not COVID, not the government, not the media, not you. Turn your worries and your life over to God, trusting that He will take care of you.
Be thankful. Be thankful you can take a walk. Be thankful you have friends to call. Be thankful you have a roof over your head to return to. Be thankful for your health and list any heath concerns up to the Lord. Be thankful the Pilgrims left their home where they were persecuted and came to a new world to settle. Be thankful they survived a brutal winter and established a Day of Thanksgiving. Be thankful they help build a country they feared and honored the Lord–a country that has been richly blessed because of this heritage.
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Happiness comes from external sources, but joy and thankfulness come from the inside. Find your reasons to be thankful and your joy won’t be far away. Use this Thanksgiving Eve to prepare for a good Thanksgiving Day.
Happy Thanksgiving 2020! Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving, and may God bless you during this special season of thankfulness.
- William Bradford’s “A Call to Thanksgiving”
- President George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation
- Thanksgiving History
- Remarks by President Bush on Thanksgiving 2007
- Thanksgiving Acrostic
- Thanksgiving Scriptures