It’s been quite a year! With so many mandates, closures, and circumstances that have left many of us in a state of disbelief, it leaves us grabbing our heads, wondering, “What.Will. The. Holidays. Bring?”
Normally, I am that one… I threaten to put up my Christmas tree on November 1st. I play holiday music at the first flurry of snow (September in Wyoming), and I don’t budget much time in the holiday season to bother with Thanksgiving decor or any other turkey tradition. Christmas brings joy to my heart, and I love celebrating the birth of Christ.
Normally, I also want to validate those in my family who don’t want to skip Thanksgiving and want to celebrate with the traditions of food, football, family and parades. We compromise. The tree goes up in November, with lights but no decorations. I listen to all of the Christmas music I want in my car by myself…until after Thanksgiving dinner. Then out comes Bing Crosby and all of the sparklies.
For many of us though, this year has been anything but normal. My tree is up, but the joy seems less. I’ve been listening to For King and Country’s “Little Drummer Boy” and I love it, but something, if not everything is different. Almost heavy. Where is my holiday spirit?
Yesterday, I was driving in my car listening to Christmas tunes when God gently turned my focus away from myself and toward Him. He put this memory on my heart: A couple of Christmas’ ago, a friend was telling me about how her teen-age daughter was coming to understand the true meaning of Christmas. Even in her young mind she knew it wasn’t just about gifts, cookies and stockings. She knew it was about the miracle of our Savior. But what she said was understanding beyond even my adult thinking. She said, “So that’s why Thanksgiving comes before Christmas, because giving thanks to God leads to the miracles of God!”
Remembering these words has inspired me to put my focus on the gratitude of the season. And though Thanksgiving is traditionally a celebration modeled after a 1621 harvest feast, it is also a celebration of the blessings of the past year. Yes, the blessings of 2020!
Philippians 4:6 is the Thanksgiving of the season! This verse reminds us not to worry about anything (not even the heartaches of 2020!) Instead, we are to pray about everything and tell God what we need. Then we are to thank Him for all He has done. God knew about this year. He knew it would challenge us and maybe even try to break us, but in our heartache we can be thankful for God’s love and unwavering presence because the “then” of Philippians 4:7 (NIV) is the Christmas.
After we say ‘thank you’, then we will experience God’s peace! A peace beyond what we can understand. A peace that will guard our hearts and our minds! Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He is the miracle.
So, I’m not saying that the tree is coming down or that I’m turning my Pandora holiday station, but I am praying that God will open my eyes to the blessings of 2020. I am putting my hope in Thanksgiving because saying “thank you” for the blessings God’s provided is a good thing, and thanking God for something He has not yet done, but I believe He will do is a powerful act of faith that creates miracles.