2020 sure has been an interesting year, hasn't it. It seems determined to make it into the history books of the next generation to study.
I've been thinking a lot about one of my years as a youth group volunteer with my old church. To close out each Wednesday night, we divided the kids into small groups, each with an adult leader, to talk and pray together. Each week I would bring a jar, a handful of blank slips of paper, and some pens with which to write. Each student in my group was asked to write down at least one thing they were thankful for from the week. It didn't have to be something big and life changing, and in fact it often wasn't, but it had to be something which they were thankful to have in their life.
Some weeks they found the task easy. Those were the weeks where life was going well. They got the "A" on the test, they won the game, they got the part in the play...whatever it was, it was easy to give thanks when it had been a good week. But some weeks it was a struggle. Some weeks it seemed not a single good thing happened in their world. Their friend wasn't talking to them, their parents had grounded them, they didn't get a good grade on their assignment, the boy they liked asked out another girl. Bad days typical of the teenaged years and bad days which were more than anyone should have to deal with made it hard to see the good God still put in their lives.
This year has had a lot of bad weeks. It has seen spring and summer programs canceled at camp and a lot of stress and work as a result of those decisions. I missed spending Easter with my sister and her family since they didn't feel they could safely travel from Seattle to rural Minnesota. The neighborhood I lived in during my 20's in Minneapolis was the scene for riots, looting, and destruction. Political divides are deeper than ever with people more and more likely to see the other side not as a fellow American trying to do what they believe to be best for our nation but as an enemy to be defeated.
But this year has also had a lot of good weeks. We've seen neighbors helping each other out and checking in on each other. We've learned the importance of connecting with those who are important to us on a regular basis. We've learned to embrace the small moments found in every day life and not take them for granted. We have learned just how important teachers, nurses, day care workers, those involved in the manufacturing of toilet paper really are to our daily lives.
So for the month of November, a month traditionally more focused on Thankfulness with Thanksgiving weekend wrapping it up at the end, we are going to be posting each day about something or someone who we are thankful for. And we hope you'll join us! Comment here or on social media with your thoughts. Share your photos. Let's remember that, in the midst of the all the uncertainty, there are still lots of reasons to give thanks.
"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."