A note from Janet: Before I blog, a quick suggestion.
I wrote this year’s Advent book last spring, not knowing what Christmas 2020 was going to look like; but God did. The first entry begins December 1.
If you want a copy of Our Christmas Stories, you can get it here: https://www.denisonforum.org/product/our-christmas-stories/.
I think these stories, and God’s story, will be a daily blessing throughout your holiday season.
Jesus is, and always has been, the joy of Christmas.
Jim and I decorated our home for Christmas before Thanksgiving!
I’m typing this blog post in front of my tree with my QVC Christmas candle burning brightly.
I’m not skipping Thanksgiving this year, but I am going to celebrate it with 2020 style!
A NEWLY-WILLED HOLIDAY
Jim and I made an early decision to respect this virus. It has been tough to draw the lines and live with them. But, we have made it this far and want to “finish strong.”
My first thought was not to worry about decorating our home for the holiday this year. After all, it is going to be just us. Then, we decided to go all in with the decorating and I’m glad.
It’s been so many years since it was just us I’d forgotten how to celebrate us.
Jim and I celebrated forty years of marriage last June, with a steak dinner we brought to the house in Styrofoam containers. Can I get a woo-hoo?
Not so much.
It seemed like Thanksgiving and Christmas were going to feel a lot like that milestone anniversary. So, we changed our plans. Actually, we changed our perspective.
We are going to celebrate a newly-willed holiday season.
This year, we will have turkey with all the fixings, candles, china, and quiet conversation with each other.
Of course, we will schedule that around the Cowboys game. Quite frankly, we both love football, and it is part of our Thanksgiving celebration. Well, at least it is part of our Thanksgiving Day. I’m not sure if we will be celebrating the score.
It has been a tough year for our Dallas Cowboys!
But, I digress . . .
Jim and I aren’t newlyweds anymore, but we have newly-willed ourselves to enjoy this unique year. Interestingly, it is actually pretty great!
Forty years later, I still love and enjoy the man I married and look forward to spending the holiday with him. I can honestly say I am truly thankful to celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday safely. We have a lot of reasons to be thankful this year, and we need to make sure others can feel the same way.
- I’m thankful for the doctors and nurses who will give up their family holiday in order to care for someone else’s family member.
- I’m thankful for those in our country who serve so I can celebrate.
- I’m thankful for the scientists who worked around the clock to develop a vaccine that would end the crisis.
- I’m thankful to have what I have, even if it isn’t all I would want.
I am truly thankful for so many things this year. There are moments and memories I am going to miss. But, I’m not going to allow those thoughts to remove the gratitude I feel for all the moments I have enjoyed and all I will have in the years to come.
A POLLYANNA PERSPECTIVE
I wanted to write this blog post even though I knew it would make some people upset. Who am I to say what a family should or shouldn’t do this holiday season? Well . . .
- I’m someone who prays for friends who are in the medical profession. They wish I would tell my readers to have a uniquely safe Thanksgiving.
- I’m someone who is praying for people who have COVID and it is worse than they thought it would be.
- I know people who had COVID and it was no big deal. I also know people who were on a ventilator and their lungs will never be the same. Some are simply thankful to be alive this Thanksgiving season.
I’ve taken a Pollyanna perspective to my COVID holiday because it is the perspective that brings me joy. I can’t write about “loving our neighbors” unless I choose to love my neighbors. I can’t teach about commitment unless I keep my commitment. I can’t stress family values unless I value every member of my family.
I’ve wondered who I am keeping safe by keeping my holiday newly-willed. I’ve wondered if someone might change their plans and be kept safe because of this blog post. I may never meet those people this side of heaven, but I’m glad they are safe on this side of heaven.
I know some will read this and roll their eyes. Some will smile and consider me overly careful. But, I’ve been called “Pollyanna” before. I actually believe a positive outlook is a source of joy.
I decided to share my Pollyanna perspective because I pray before I write. My goal in writing a blog post is to try to share what God places on my heart and mind. Please know I did that with today’s post.
Doing without our loved ones this holiday season might mean that someone else doesn’t have to do without theirs forever. It’s my job and my calling to remind all of us that Jesus wants us to love one another as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39).
You may never know who you are keeping safe—but God knows their names and loves them.
Consider making a personal sacrifice and make that choice with newly-willed joy for this 2020 holiday season.
If you aren’t sure what to do, pray. God will give his answer to your willing heart.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THANKSGIVING?
Thanksgiving is still a day for giving thanks. Whatever you do, pray and be thankful for God’s leadership.
God wants you to have his joy and his blessings this Thanksgiving. You might be surprised to discover that it was COVID restrictions the Lord used to provide those very blessings.
This Pollyanna blog writer wishes you and your family a blessed, safe, and wonderful Thanksgiving—whatever God calls it to be like for you.
I close with this message from the Apostle Paul:
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” —Colossians 3:17
P.S. Have you signed up for my bible study, Foundations of Faith, yet?
It’s not too late, we just released another lesson!
Visit https://www.janetdenisonbiblestudy.com/ to sign up for this study, if you’ve already signed up you can login and access the newest video too.