An Unthankful Thanksgiving
2020 has provided our world with many challenges and inconveniences associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. Plans have been interrupted, delayed and even canceled. This has left many in our nation anxious, frustrated, and discouraged. As we approach they national day of Thanksgiving we are met with new restrictions on gatherings, stricter travel advisories, and pleas from our leaders to forgo tradition to control the spread. In an article titled “Coronavirus: The agonizing Thanksgiving dilemma facing millions of Americans” posted on BBC News, 7 individuals were interviewed about the upcoming holiday. Not one individual mentioned anything they were thankful for. Words like worry, added stress, difficult, rough, hard, lonely, sad, frustrating, neutral, exhausted, disappointment and feeling overwhelmed were used to describe their thoughts about this Thanksgiving.
The World Health Organization reports that from 2005–2015 depression rates were up 18.5%, depression represents the main cause of disability throughout the world, and over 322 million people around the globe are affected by depression. Add a worldwide pandemic and the numbers are bound to increase exponentially.
But what if we cultivated an attitude of thanksgiving 365 days a year, instead of celebrating just one day of thanks? Could this impact our feelings of worry, anxiety, frustration and discontentment? As a Biblical counselor, I hold out the truth from God’s Word to counsel and encourage those who suffer with anxiety, depression, frustration and anger. 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Paul writes that we are “to give thanks in all our circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”(NIV). Really Paul, IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES? In Jerry Bridges book, Respectable Sins, he writes that “one characteristic of a Spirit-filled life is a thankful heart”(Bridges 84). He reminds us we are to give thanks even when we don’t feel like it. He challenges his readers by stating that “we are to give God thanks that He will use the situation in some way to develop our Christian character” (Bridges 85).
As Thanksgiving eve approaches and our world is anxious, worried, frustrated, angry, believers in Jesus have the opportunity to voice and exclaim that “even when circumstances go awry and do not turn out the way we had hoped, we should, by faith, thank Him for what He is doing in the circumstances to transform us more and more into the likeness of His Son” (Bridges 86)
This Thanksgiving, will you thank God for Covid-19?
The Bible. New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. 2004.
Bridges, Jerry. Respectable Sins. Colorado Springs: Navpress. 2007.