If you are curious what my inner child wants to be doing right now…it’s this. She wants to snuggle up by the fire, surrounded by Christmas joy, hear the voices of loved ones in the room next door and read a good book. She wants a full house, good food and a secure heart.
Is it weird that Christmas decorations are up in my house already? The answer is yes. But it’s because LJ and I decided to join the trending belief that 2020 needs the grand finale of Christmas-come-early! Complete with decorations, hot chocolate, Christmas carols on repeat and the promise and joy of Christ being born into the world.
But I wonder, as the actual day of Thanksgiving approaches, if you are looking at a LOT of ways this year seems different.
For one, I know my family is planning to pre-cook and package Thanksgiving dishes, meet for a drop-off/exchange and then gather for a Zoom meal where we will play virtual games on the TV. My husband, the enneagram 7, found a way to play Catchphrase EVEN if we can’t be in the same house. Bless him.
I’m grateful for the creativity however it’s not my ideal. I’m really going to miss sitting around a big table TOGETHER, laughing while we eat freshly cooked holiday food and try to talk over the noise of kids yelling and running around on a whip-cream high!
It just feels harder than normal to offer thanks this year. And I think it’s because everything feels so far from normal.
So many people have suffered, lost, started over and endured this year. Yesterday another mom summed it up perfectly…”It just feels like the world is crying.”
I think it’s hard to give thanks when we don’t feel like God is showing up in the ways we are asking. A lot of days He seems far and what feels close is suffering, fatigue and weariness. I think everyone is worn down and trying their best to make it across the finish line of 2020.
So as I watched my daughter cozy up by the fireplace…I realized all I wanted was the same thing. I want to cozy up and feel warm and secure and trust that everything is going to be ok.
You see, the thing about fire is that it brings the comfort of warmth and the light to see when darkness seems to be closing in.
This Thanksgiving, even when the light feels far off, what happens if we choose to move in close and trust that Christ, the light of the world, is still in the room?
Jesus Christ, who is no stranger to suffering, weeps with us as we feel pain. And He walks beside us to help shoulder the weight of uncertainty, fear and hardship. We do not have to carry all of our burdens alone, although sometimes I know we really try to.
Scripture promises His light cannot be put out.
“A light that thrives in the depths of darkness,
blazes through murky bottoms.
It cannot and will not be quenched.“John 1:5 (The Voice)
The light cannot be quenched. So what if we choose to come close and let the warmth of His heart comfort our souls and the flicker of His light offer a better perspective.
And as we slow down long enough to settle in, might we consider throwing a log or two on the fire, and watch it grow?
For our gratitude is like fodder to the fire.
God does not need our thanks to light up the room, but it does cause our awareness of His Presence to grow. As we reach for, and offer our thanks, whether big or small, we can’t help but focus our attention on the light Jesus offers.
We experience a deepening joy as we see the flames grow and remember that the Kingdom of God is at hand. God has not left 2020 and is waiting to offer us the comfort and security of His heart.
What if our gratitude offers us the chance to help grow what He’s already set into motion?
I pray this strange Thanksgiving, that you will see God’s invitation to draw near to His light and participate in building the flame.
As you accept His invitation and draw near, may His warmth comfort the spaces within you that need it the most. And may the nearness of His light enlighten what is most dark before you and within you.
I’ve decided to lean into gratitude this week and am trusting that it will lead to newfound joys and a brighter persepctive. I believe as we offer thanks, whether a tiny twig of appreciation or a large log of praise, we will see the light of Christ grow and feel the rooms of our hearts fill with hope.
Blessings of growing gratitude and deep comfort this week,
To help spark my gratitude practice, I’ve recorded a guided meditation prayer to share. It’s simple and short. CLICK TO LISTEN ALONG and lets give thanks together!
These guided Scripture meditations help me move in close to God while still moving through my busy days. I hope it offers you the same space today:)