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It goes without saying, but I will: 2020 has been rotten. Calamities have touched every corner of the globe and have made us very aware that no person is immune to tragedy. Undoubtedly, most people reading this have experienced first hand the loss of a role model, a loved one, health, or a job. We have all seen vitriol and injustice at levels we never thought were possible, and now, a lot of us are isolated from loved ones over the holiday season.
That was a rather glum opening, but bear with me. Things are getting better. If you haven’t heard, major scientific achievements have yielded high-efficacy COVID-19 vaccines that some officials are saying could lead to immunizations by mid December, which is an incredible feat. And while we don’t have the vaccine in our hands right now, we do have a time to be thankful for what we do have.
In 1789, George Washington proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving six years after the American Revolutionary War. Without a doubt, families were still feeling the effects of that tumultuous time, still coming to terms with the casualties of the war, and still trying to rebuild their fledgling nation. Our recent generations have faced calamities, and I’m not here to suggest that one generation suffered more than the other. What I am here to say is that, in light of recent events, it might be time for a new tradition (that maybe looks like the original one).
The old adage “you don’t know what you had until it’s gone” is especially valid for all of us this year, and I know I’ll be taking serious time to reflect and give thanks. Thanksgiving in years past has largely been filled with a lot of noise, too much food, and camping out at a retail store to snag a cheap TV. That’s why, just maybe, the silver lining this year is that those things have been taken away from us. And if that is the silver lining, then now is a time to be still instead of getting lost in the midst of the holiday buzz. Now is a time to be thankful for what we do have rather than focusing on what we don’t have or what we want. Now is a time to be prayerful that peace will be restored to our nation and that the calamities will be withheld from us, our loved ones, and our fellow countrymen and countrywomen. Now is a time to be expectant that this plague won’t last forever and that we can start to rebuild our fractured communities, and in turn, our nation.
When the time comes for normalcy, let’s not curse 2020, but remember it as a year that taught us how to truly be thankful.
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