Editor’s note: This is the 22nd year of Nancy Kennedy’s annual Thanksgiving psalm. Even in 2020, she is still thankful.
Are there even words to describe this year?
How can one give thanks for a year dominated by disease, death and destruction, panic and chaos and hatred?
It feels like the gates of hell opened up and dumped its evil on our lives.
With you, there’s always a “yet.”
“Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident” — (Psalm 27:3).
“You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance” — (Psalm 66:12).
“My heart and my flesh may fail, yet God remains my hope and my strength forever” — (Psalm 73:26, my translation).
The year 2020 may go down in history as one of the worst years ever, yet there is still much to be thankful for.
Thank you, Lord, for being a shelter and a hiding place, “a bulwark never failing,” a fortress, a rock and solid foundation when the world around me shakes and crumbles.
Thank you that lament and laughter can coexist. We lament over the state of the world, the state of our communities and our homes, but we can laugh because the joy of the Lord is our strength.
Thank you, Lord, for your very words of comfort and strength: “Nothing is impossible with God” — (Luke 1:37); “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” — (Deuteronomy 31:6); “The Lord is a...stronghold in times of trouble” — (Psalm 9:9).
“He restores my soul” — (Psalm 23:3).
Thank you, too, for the small things that make me smile: baked steelhead trout, bars of Beekman 1802 goat milk soap, crisp white sheets on my comfy bed, moonlight that peeks through the slats of the window blinds that lulls me to sleep.
Thank you, Lord, that the moon is always round, that you are always with me and that Jesus never fails.
When I think of this past year, of murdering hornets, wildfires, COVID and hurricanes and red versus blue, it’s tempting to crawl inside myself in fear and depression — and I’ve done that.
But you have rescued me from myself, reached down into the pit and pulled me out, “led me to a spacious place” because “you delighted in me” — (Psalm 18:19).
You delighted in me!
That gives me great comfort — and hope.
Thank you, Lord, for hope, for its light that shines in this dark world and points to the brightness of eternity.
Thank you, Lord, for your peace that passes all human understanding and for truth, for being truth itself. When I don’t know what to believe, I know I can believe in you. Your word never leads me astray.
Thank you for coffee fudge frozen yogurt and cranberry apple crisp, for reuben egg rolls, fried eggs sunny side up and cats that use their scratching post and not my furniture to manicure their claws.
Lord, this has been a terrible and difficult year for us all, and our world is broken.
Thank you that you restore broken things, that you take the shattered pieces and the mess of our lives and use them for your greater purposes, making all things beautiful in your time.
That is my hope, that one day, as J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, “Everything sad is going to come untrue,” and that New York pastor Tim Keller has added, “and it will somehow be greater for having once been broken and lost.”
In 2020, you have been faithful. You always have been and always will be.
Even in 2020, I have much to be thankful for, because you are my God
As 2020 nears its end, I remember the words of an old hymn: “Thanks for pain and thanks for pleasure, thanks for comfort in despair; thanks for grace that none can measure, thanks for love beyond compare.”
Thank you, Lord.
Nancy Kennedy is the author of “Move Over, Victoria — I Know the Real Secret,” “Girl on a Swing” and “Lipstick Grace.” She can be reached at 352-564-2927 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.