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Ann Farabee: When holidays hurt

In every thing give thanks.

In all things give thanks.

Give thanks no matter the circumstance.

Each translation of 1 Thessalonians 5:18 made the message pretty clear.

As darkness fell on this Thanksgiving Day, I finally sat down to relax. I grabbed my prayer book and opened it to read through my list of names I pray over daily.

Honestly, as I sat there, I realized that I was glad the day was over. The week had not been that great. The effort put into holiday planning and preparation had been time consuming and frustrating. Plus, just because holidays arrive does not mean that problems disappear during that 24 hour time frame.

Do not get me wrong – I am thankful! I daily attempt to enter into His gates with thanksgiving and come into His courts with praise!

But…sometimes around holidays, it seems easy to begin reflecting on our circumstance, doesn’t it? Sadness, grief, sickness, family problems, or just plain heartbreak can all seem more pronounced.

As I started to pray over the names, I felt a tug at my heart from the Lord, and I began to envision – and literally feel – some of the emotions they must have been experiencing on this day of thanksgiving.

• A friend going through chemo.

• A mother of two who had just buried her husband.

• A teenager hanging onto life after an accident.

• Mothers wrecked with fear over prodigal children.

• A young couple with a very sick baby being airlifted to an out-of-state hospital.

• A bereaved friend who is still grieving long after the sympathy cards stopped arriving.

• Addicts and the homeless living on the streets.

• A young man in the military missing his family.

• A loved one in a nursing home.

• The inmates.

• A friend struggling in an abusive home.

• The hurt, the sick, the disappointed, the broken…

It was their Thanksgiving Day, just like it was mine. It had to be a hard day for many of them. As I prayed, I began to insert each person’s name within some of the words of John 16:33.

In this world, Deanna will have tribulation. Jesus, give her peace. Help her know that You have overcome the world.

In this world, Mary will have tribulation. Jesus, give her peace. Help her know that You have overcome the world.

In this world, Alan will have tribulation. Jesus, give him peace. Help him know that You have overcome the world.

Over and over, I prayed the simple words for each person on my list.

As I finished my prayers, and turned the lights out for the night, I then began to breathe a prayer of thanksgiving to God for renewing my mind during that time I spent praying for my friends.

At that point, I could truly begin to thank God in EVERY thing, to thank God in ALL things, and to thank God no matter the circumstance.

Because I know that in this world, I will have tribulation, but I can be at peace!

Jesus has overcome the world!

• Live above the circumstance.

• And… here’s a bonus verse: Job 42:10 The Lord reversed the fortunes of Job, when he prayed for his friends. Also, he gave Job twice as much as he had before.

• Sometimes holidays may hurt. But…spending time with Jesus sure can help.

Contact Ann at annfarabee@gmail.com 

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