When Thanksgiving Isn’t Happy

It happens, and most are more aware after this year’s events, of how life can look completely different than you expected or hoped. Who would have ever anticipated a pandemic that altered normal life for the entire world? It has been challenging to say the least. So how do we celebrate Thanksgiving when it doesn’t seem very happy?

I believe the answer lies in finding joy in the midst of the struggle. Joy is different than happy. Happy is dependent on the circumstances around us. Joy breaks through the sadness to a deeper appreciation to God for what matters.

We are in Oklahoma. This is a state where my mom was born, and where my grandparents helped settle the booming town of Jenks in the early 1900’s. I have relatives who have made our time here not seem so far from home. This is where my mom and I traveled three times over a decade to do research for my book, Through The Eyes Of Grace, based on my grandmother’s life in Oklahoma Territory. It is a memory that brings me joy and sadness; joy in that that we were successful, sadness, since my Mom is no longer here to share in the happiness of what we did together.

I have wanted to travel here with Tom since my book was published to show him all the places I discovered with Mom. Normally it would make me very happy to be here with him, but we are here for an unplanned crisis; Our daughter gave birth to her first baby prematurely. We have a micro-preemie grandson who is making slow progress making happiness elusive.

There are too many variables to be completely happy. But do we have joy? Absolutely! Joy in the life Elias has. Joy in the slow progress he is making (a miracle unfolding). Joy in the fact that we get to spend Thanksgiving with the newest parents in our family. Joy that we have the means to do this.

If I’ve learned anything this past year it’s this: Joy is a decision we must choose in the midst of unhappiness.

When normal is pushed aside either by force or choice, we must rise above the sadness and choose joy.

So this week remember, Thanksgiving isn’t dependent on our circumstances. We can be thankful to God with joy for many things. Let’s take time this year to look for it. It may be hidden under tears.

Have a Thanksgiving with joy from our table to yours.

About Debi Walter

Tom and Debi have been sharing encouragements through their blogs for many years. Marriage, Reading God's Word and documenting family history is our focus. Growing in our relationship with the Lord is primary in all we say, write or do. We are grateful for all who desire to join us in the same endeavors.
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2 Responses to When Thanksgiving Isn’t Happy

  1. When Thanksgiving isn’t happy,
    endless football is a pain,
    Macy’s floats are really sappy,
    TV specials rot the brain,
    at least you won’t see Cousin Eddie
    punched out quick by Aunt Astrid,
    just an unexpected bennie
    of these days stuck with COVID.
    Oh, yes, we will see their faces,
    up on Zoom, yeah, sure enough,
    but one of the high-tech graces
    is that we can just turn ’em off,
    then celebrate (oh, Lord, have mercy!)
    that, well, at least we ain’t a turkey.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ms D. says:

    May baby Elias prosper. My newest grandson is a preemie, although not a micro, and he was able to leave the NICU very quickly. Because of COVID travel worries I haven’t met him in person yet. Enjoy!


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