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Are there reasons to be thankful in 2020?

For most of us, our best Thanksgiving memories feature an abundance of food, family, friends, warmth and gratitude. You maybe even watch some football on TV and movies later in the day, as we struggle to digest thousands of calories.

In 2020, it’s quite a bit different. As this Thanksgiving approaches, it may be challenging to look past what we’ve endured, and find inspiration for thankfulness. Although it may not look or feel the same this year, the meaning of Thanksgiving has been consistent since the very first gathering.

The most recognized early observance of Thanksgiving was a three-day feast in 1621, celebrating a successful harvest. Fifty English settlers, who traveled over on the Mayflower, and ninety Native Americans came together to eat deer, corn, shellfish and roasted meat, as well as play games, sing and dance.

Almost 250 years later, turkey became the centerpiece of the meal in 1863, the year President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. This is a tradition I’m sure most of us grew up enjoying. It’s my favorite meal of the year! But I must also admit that one of the best Thanksgivings I’ve had involved only pizza, and it was just as satisfying.

With that in mind, as we prepare for this unique year, I hope that all of us are able to find joy in what is truly special. As we’re meeting in smaller groups or alone, separate from many we love, it’s a perfect time to reflect on our blessings: Family. Health. Provision. Community. Being able to help others. If we’re in need, being able to lean on others. This season is not a time to lament what is lacking but to take time to embrace our reasons to be thankful.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

By Jennifer Esquivel