12/31/2020 - By Pastor Todd Nathan
Many people, and perhaps you are one of them, are looking forward to the end of 2020 and the start of a new, and hopefully better year. It's easier to think about the challenges we all have faced, the hardships, the disappointments, the fears and conflicts this past year. But as believers, we are called to give thanks in everything. Despite all of this, I am sure that over the last 365 days, there was something good that made you smile, something you laughed about, something you rejoiced over, or even something you celebrated - even with COVID restrictions, and most likely some great renewed and refreshing family, friend or couple times together! The Apostle Paul writes,
"Be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:18-20).
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18)
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice...Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:4, 6)
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful...
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 3:15, 17)
Take some time to make a list of things you are thankful for before the end of the year. It is a healthy exercise for you to do to keep your heart free from bitterness and overcome by disappointment, fear, anxiousness and grief. It's what God instructs us to do so that we stay focused upward. You can make the list by yourself. Consider making a list also as a couple, as a family, with a friend, or with your small group or Sunday school class. It will be mutually edifying.
Let's finish this year with thankfulness to the Lord, especially for the greatest gift He has given us - Jesus Christ!