Thanksgiving Day looks different this year for most of us. Like nearly everything else, the “new normal” of the pandemic has impacted the holiday season. Travel may be limited. The number of seats around the table may have shrunk. Family or friends may be distant due to local mandates.
When Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings, how do we celebrate the new normal? In an atmosphere that prohibits parties, discourages sharing food, frowns on hugs, and masks our smiles, it’s hard to feel festive.
The answer is to remember the Giver of all blessings – Jesus.
Every blessing we have is from Him and even when those gifts are gone, He is still near. We may be feeling the loss of many precious things, but it leaves a clearer picture of what we all need most – our Lord and Savior Jesus. Our “new” new normal can be a deeper relationship with Him.
We can be thankful for a gift that is not distant, cannot be shrunk nor limited. The peace that comes from giving our life to Him is a peace the world neither give nor understand (Philippians 4:7). 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us God’s will for our lives is to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances.”
Across Guam-Micronesia, there are many blessings to thank God for. Because most of the world’s remaining COVID-free nations are within our Guam-Micronesian region, many schools do not have to practice the restrictions that have become the new norm for the rest of the world. Staff and students at Chuuk SDA School celebrated the holiday with food and fun with water balloons, while Palau Mission Academy enjoyed the beach and a traditional meal together. In the COVID-affected islands of Guam and Saipan, SDA students at Guam Adventist Academy showed their spirit of thankfulness online by dressing like their favorite foods and sharing favorite Thanksgiving memories. Finally, the classes at Saipan SDA School, which meets in-person while physically distant, each recorded their parts for a Thanksgiving Program that was posted over social media so many more people could be blessed with their smiles! As all the staff, students, and their loved ones enjoy a much deserved Thanksgiving break, may Jesus renew each heart with His peace.