Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. Hebrews 4:14-16 (The Message)
It is almost Thanksgiving 2013. All across the United States preparations for a day that begins with a parade, then a family meal, followed by football, and more leftover food. But it won’t be like that for everyone. Each of us has had holidays that did not look like a Norman Rockwell painting and we struggled to find that joyful thanks that we knew we should give.
There are people who are alone, separated from family. Thousands will be served dinner in cities across America. People who are homeless and without the means to have more than a bowl of soup will come to church halls and restaurants and receive a plate full of food and cheerful company. My heart breaks for families who may find themselves receiving this meal for the first time when they may have been the givers in past years. Now unemployment and other circumstances have put them in this serving line.
Others will have their meal in a hospital as they spend time with loved ones who are sick and dying. Holidays can be bittersweet as past memories of family gatherings bring smiles followed closely by tears as the face of those we love come to our minds and we remember that they have gone on before us. While we are thankful that they are celebrating every day in praising our LORD in His Throne Room, there is still grief for separation.
I don’t have all the answers to explain difficult circumstances. I can say that I know God is right here, right now in all facets of my life, joys as well as deep sorrows. He is an involved father who holds His child during sickness and listens no matter how many times the child cries out in pain. He sees every tear and His heart is tender to my despair. He will sift through my emotions with His Spirit and separate truth from deception. He gives wisdom, love and mercy in a never-ending stream, filling me when I am dry and thirsty.
So if you find yourself in a difficult holiday this year, allow Jesus to walk with you through the day. Grab hold and cling to the truth that you are not alone. Jesus will tell you about the darkness of one Friday in His life and then remind you of the glory that came 48 hours later on a quiet Sunday morning. Things are not always as they seem. You can count on Him seeing you and staying with you whether your world seems joyously light or darkly cloudy. And that may give you the reason to turn to God and say, “Thanks.”
Give Thanks written and sung by Don Moen