By the grace of God, we have amazingly made it towards the end of the year to witness the beginning of the holiday season. This is amazing because so many who began this year with us are no longer alive as we approach the conclusion of 2020. This year really got me off guard because I believed that 2020 was going to be awesome, but for many, this year has been awful.
I am concerned because so many of us are experiencing despair instead of delight. For many, the holiday season is always difficult, but it is even more difficult due to all that we have suffered this year. Dealing with the pandemic, racial injustice and now the election results have been tough. Moreover, many of us have suffered because of illness, grief, unemployment, domestic problems and so forth.
Now, we have been informed that COVID-19 has spiked in many places such as California. In most counties of our state, we are living dangerously in the purple tier which denotes a widespread of the Coronavirus. Because of this, most public indoor activities and gatherings are prohibited.
Today, I am admonishing us to be extremely careful if God allows us to live to see Thanksgiving. We need to reconsider hosting or engaging in our traditional gatherings on Thanksgiving which is something that many of us have already considered and have already decided to refrain from doing.
What can we do to experience delight rather than despair if God permits us to be alive on Thanksgiving? First, begin the day with the Lord. I encourage everyone to invest time with God in prayer at least three times on Thanksgiving Day thanking Him for every reason that comes to mind. Also, after the first prayer, enjoy time with the Lord reading passages in the Book of Psalms about giving thanks unto the Lord and about His goodness.
Secondly, demonstrate our thankfulness by giving to others. Usually, people feel good about serving food to the poor, but being among people is not recommended (unless God is leading you to do this). Perhaps, instead of serving food, we should serve others by sharing ourselves and our time with them. On Thanksgiving, let’s designate a segment of the day encouraging others who are struggling. Even if we are struggling, we will be blessed by helping others in the exact way that we need to be helped. In other words, we can help ourselves by helping others. After ministering to others, we should probably refuel by enjoying devotional time with the Lord again which will be a good time to pray for an extended period of time thanking God for everything that comes to mind.
Thirdly, plan to do something enjoyable in the place where we live. This might mean eating a good meal, watching a good movie or sports on TV or whatever makes us happy (as long as it does not make God unhappy).
I believe the above suggestions are good especially for people who may be alone on Thanksgiving. However, I believe all of this is good also for people who will be among others that live with them (their social bubble). If you are blessed to live among others (e.g. family), enjoy them but avoid allowing people outside of your family pod to mingle with you for reasons of safety.
Please be mindful that I am only making safe suggestions that can help us get through Thanksgiving with delight instead of despair. Hopefully, these are suggestions that will work for many, but they may not work for everyone. Whatever we decide to do, let’s make sure that we are prayerful and careful. Also, let’s conclude the day with the third prayer of thanksgiving.
Between now and then, think positively! Philippians 4:8 reads: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
In conclusion, one of the best ways to enjoy Thanksgiving is by giving to the Lord. We currently contribute by mailing or dropping off our Tithes and Offerings to our St. John South Campus (662 South 52nd Street—Richmond, CA 94804) or by giving online through our website (sjmbc.org). If you are a member of St. John who is financially able but not supporting our church financially, allow God to bless you with more by giving today your Tithes and Offerings.
May God bless and sustain each of us.
Your Servant In Christ,
Dr. Kevin B. Hall, Pastor