Tony Elder

Tony Elder

One of my young grandsons recently did something at his preschool for which he was appropriately reprimanded. When he refused to apologize to the other student involved, he was put in “time-out” until he was prepared to own up to his wrongdoing. After a few minutes in that disciplinary position, he was once again approached by his teacher asking him if we was ready to say “I’m sorry.” He responded, “No, I’m not ready yet.” I guess he was being honest about his feelings, but was obviously letting his stubbornness get in the way of what he knew he needed to do.

As we approach this special time we’ve set aside each year for expressing our gratitude, are you ready to say, “Thank You, Lord”? In light of the year we’ve been having, will some of us find it more difficult not only to say the words we know are appropriate but also to truly feel a sense of gratefulness in our hearts for what the Lord has done for us? As Thanksgiving Day draws near, are some of us having to honestly admit, “I’m not ready yet”? I’m not talking about not being ready to get together with family, to prepare a big meal, or jump into the midst of another holiday season. I’m referring to the fact that some of us may not be ready to set aside how we feel about all that has been going in our world over these past months and sincerely express thanks to the Lord.

Many of us know that we still have reason to be grateful. We can mentally count our blessings and remind ourselves that our situations could be worse. However, in spite of what we know, we’re finding it difficult to pull away from the prevailing atmosphere full of complaints, disappointments, fears and anxieties over constantly having to adjust our lives from what has been our normal for so long. We know we should be thankful, but we’re just not ready yet.

May I encourage us all, including myself, to spend these next few days seeking to get ourselves ready – to prepare our hearts and move more in the direction of gratitude? It may not be easy to distance ourselves from some of the whining we’ve become so accustomed to participating in. It may be difficult not to succumb to the worry that is generated as we’re being constantly bombarded with fear-provoking news. We’ve been in such a negative environment for so many months, it may be hard to break free from its overpowering influence which seems to always be present and weighing us down. Nevertheless, with God’s help, let’s try.

In spite of the terrible loss of life from COVID-19, if you’re reading this, you’re still alive, breathing and here to see another day. Be thankful for that. In spite of one or more empty chairs at your Thanksgiving celebration this year, be grateful for the people who still fill up those other seats around your table. Even though we may be hurting financially, look at what you do have and be thankful. In spite of the direction our nation seems to be going, let’s be grateful for the freedoms we still have and the opportunities before us to be lights in the darkness. In spite of all the uncertainties of what the future holds, we as believers can be thankful because we know that the Lord will be with us whatever comes our way.

We know we still have good reason to be thankful, even during this challenging year. Let’s not stubbornly refuse to admit it. Let’s get ready to give thanks this week and try to maintain that spirit more consistently as we move forward.

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The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at revtelder@aol.com.

Editor

I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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