Give one thing more, a grateful heart.”
Dear Hope Family,
Recently, a friend said she had come across a 2020 Christmas ornament of a burning dumpster. Indeed, this calendar year has often felt like a never ending dumpster fire. As we gather around the dinner table this Thanksgiving—many of us with less place settings than usual—it will be much harder to play the “let’s go around the table and share what we’re thankful for” game.
Gratitude is pretty easy when things are going well: when our IRA is booming, our kids are thriving in (non-Zoom) school, our career goals are being attained, our political party is in power, or our health is in tact. But how do we sing, “Now thank we all our God / with heart and hands and voices / who wondrous things has done / in whom the world rejoices,” when life feels so disappointing? When it doesn’t seem like there is much to be thankful for?
As Christians, we don’t need to deny our suffering or pretend things are okay when they really aren’t. We don’t need to keep a stiff upper lip, feign strength in the midst of our weakness, or cheer one another up with empty platitudes or out-of-context Bible verses. But we do have reason to hope. In the words of another well-known hymn, because “Christ has regarded my helpless estate and has shed his own blood for my soul,” we do have reason to sing, “It is well with my soul!”
Friends, it’s so hard these days to see through the mist of our tears, but the God who refused to spare his own Son in order to make payment for our sins is the same God who has promised he will wipe those tears away. So let’s give thanks. In the joy and in the sorrow, let’s give thanks.