It seems like it was yesterday that we were ringing in the new year and sharing all that we wanted God to do in our lives during 2022.
I certainly could not have imagined at the start of 2022 that I would get engaged, move to the East Coast, change roles within my company, and get married.
However, God knew all of these changes would take place.
Over the past couple of years, COVID has reshaped Thanksgiving. Family and friends who were with us before COVID may no longer be with us.
The political landscape may have reshaped your family or close relationships to the point where you no longer speak or do things together.
Do you think God’s heart breaks to see His creation torn apart by issues?
I think it does.
In her book, The Space Between Us, Sarah Bauer Anderson shares her family background in politics and how she has seen it rip apart families over the last several years.
Pastors have lamented that their congregations have been torn apart by COVID, politics, economic woes, abortion, and the list continues. Long-standing friendships have crumbled in the face of these trying times.
On this Thanksgiving, some might wonder what there is to be thankful for when the world seems like it is only getting worse.
It’s a matter of perspective. We go to the eye doctor because we need our vision corrected. If the TV is suddenly 85 decibels, we see hearing specialists, and we struggle to hear our loved ones.
It’s about perspective. Thanksgiving means appreciating and being grateful for who is a part of your life and for what they mean to you.
When we give of the resources that God has given to us, we become a vessel for God to extend His grace and love to those around us.
For many people, it is hard to receive gratitude and help from others. We think we can do it all, or too many people have let us down in the past, so it is easier to do it all ourselves.
God sent these people into our lives to bless us by helping us. Every year, homeless shelters and food banks put out the call for help. Many people respond to the ask by giving their time to help.
Andy Stanley’s church, Northpoint Community Church, does an annual giving campaign titled Be Rich where they do three things:
- Give – financial contributions
- Serve – spend time giving back through acts of service
- Love – love people by giving food and other items to those in need
What if we Give, Serve, and Love people this Thanksgiving?
Give, Serve, Love
As you gather around your dining table this Thanksgiving, take a few minutes to reflect on how you can give, serve, and love those around you.
It could be washing the dishes for your parents or taking someone to a doctor’s appointment. If you love to cook, make an extra meal for someone and drop it off with them.
There is no script for giving, serving, or loving people. It’s about seeing the needs and meeting them.
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the needs around you and to point you to the need that He wants you to fulfill.
If we did more giving, serving, and loving, we might have fewer empty seats around the Thanksgiving table this year.
I want to close with a prayer Sarah Bauer Anderson shares in her book.
“A Liturgy for The Space Between Us
For family near and peaceable, Lord, we give thanks.
For family far and conflicted, Lord, we give thanks.
For the ones easy to love, Lord, we give thanks.
For the ones we fight to love, Lord, we give thanks.
For people who see as we see, Lord, we give thanks.
For people we don’t understand, Lord, we give thanks.
For people who don’t understand us, Lord, we give thanks.
For easy conversation and expressed affection, Lord, we give thanks.
For gentle discord within our discourse, Lord, we give thanks.
For unity, not sameness, Lord, we give thanks.
For charity in all things, Lord, we give thanks.
For a world that reflects your goodness, Lord, we give thanks.
For humankind that bears your image, Lord, we give thanks.
For a day when we’ll delight in our differences and not just tolerate them,
For a gathering of every tribe and every tongue,
For a table and a feast today, anticipating the one we’ll enjoy with You someday, Lord, we give thanks.
Thanks for listening to Rocking Chair Devotions; I’m Dave Anthold. I will be back next week as we kick off our Advent series titled Set the Table. Until then…have a blessed week.
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- “The Space Between Us” (pg. 203 ↩︎