Jesus wants us to count a different kind of blessing
A Thanksgiving 2020 Point of View
Thanksgiving in the midst of struggle is one of the reoccurring themes in the Bible. In fact, there is no better time to "count your blessings" than when you realize they can't be taken for granted.
HOWEVER, NONE of the "usual blessings" we tend to count at Thanksgiving are on Jesus' list of blessings known as The Beatitudes. Nary a "food," "shelter," "grandma," or "family" among them.
Instead, the blessings Jesus wants us to count are spiritual and aspirational:
- Blessed are the poor in spirit (i.e. those who know they're lacking)
- Blessed are the meek for they will inherit (possess, understand, i.e. the humble get it!)
- Blessed are those who mourn (who know the value of what they've truly lost)
- Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (who strive for what God wants)
In light of this year's struggles and Jesus' definition of "blessing," the typical "glib" blessings we tend to pray about and teach about just don't seem right. Starting and ending with thanking God for our dog, health, toys, and home (not matter how creative we try to dress it up) are missed opportunities to go deeper, especially this year.
So what might "Jesus & COVID-struggle-inspired thanksgivings" sound like this year?
- Thank you for reminding us that we really DO depend on each other, whether we like each other or not.
- Thank you for the humble reminder our of mortality — that life is a gift.
- Thank you for teaching us that the church is more than a building and set of programs.
- Thank you for the blessing of gathered worship which we had taken for granted.
- Thank you for teachers and schools, for waiters and daycare workers and first-responders.
- And thank you for the "lesson of the mask" -- that it's not what goes in, but literally and figuratively what comes out of our mouths — that we should be concerned about. Help us to heed our words and care about the safety of other.
- Thank you for giving us life that is full of challenging lessons, and for the humility to learn them.
What would you add to this list of 2020 Blessings?