With Thanksgiving only a week away, I was a bit melancholy. Diagnosed with asthmatic bronchitis, I felt sick, tired, and like my weekly plans got torpedoed. 

I wanted this holiday season to be festive for a couple of reasons. First, the health of my 90-year-old father is declining, and his holidays left on this earth are dwindling. Second, the years with our kids are flying by. A decade ago, the days were long, but now my boys are teens – one in college, the other in high school – and time with them still under our roof feels fleeting. I’m trying more than ever to be mentally present when we do things as a family. 

But amid this melancholy, I again realized how much I have to be thankful for. We have a roof over our heads, we have blankets on our beds, food to eat, clean water to drink, the clothes on our backs … and after this past week, I’m especially thankful for Albuterol, cough drops, and Vitamin C! 

Then, between coughing fits, I opened my devotional book, “New Morning Mercies,” by Paul David Tripp, and came across a message reminding me of the biggest reason I have to be thankful every day: I have a hope that no one can take away, because as a Christian, my hope is vertical rather than horizontal and temporal. 

Tripp writes that this world is unpredictable, full of instability, and not an anchor for our souls. Nailed it. 

Circumstances in our lives are constantly shifting. One day we’re well, the next day we’re sick. One month we have plenty, the next month half the appliances break, and we find our budgets in the red. We experience times when life seems effortless and times when life feels like waves crashing over us with relentless force. 

Unfortunately, after all these years of calling myself a Christian, I still try to find my hope in this world. I still try to tether my hope to better circumstances, healthier days, and economic prosperity. 

The truth is that hope is not a location or a better situation. It’s a person. 

According to I Peter 1:3-6, hope is found in Jesus Christ. He died so that we can know real life apart from the unstable circumstances of this world. He wants us to call on Him during the good times and the bad. He doesn’t mock our struggles; instead, He promises that if we put our faith and trust in Him, we will never be alone in this world. The real Christ of the Bible doesn’t make us feel guilty for sharing our needs with Him. His love is unconditional, and His mercy toward us is new every day. 

While Thanksgiving week will be extremely busy and interspersed with my wheezing, my mind and heart are encouraged as I focus on this truth. It’s hard to find things of permanence in this world. Relationships come and go, our bank accounts fluctuate, our health is up and down, and world events are consistently turbulent. We all long for something that cannot be taken from us. 

But for Christian believers, Hebrews 13:5 promises us that God will never leave us or forsake us. 

This year I’m much more mindful of the ever-changing circumstances around me – especially as I watch my father struggling and my boys growing up. I look forward to delicious food and sweet fellowship around our dinner table. I will enjoy hearing my boys and my husband shoot basketball in the driveway as they work off those extra calories. And Thanksgiving night, I really look forward to crashing in front of a movie and probably falling asleep! 

But I’m also thankful for the hard things – such as the fact that I got sick last week. It slowed me down long enough to focus on the anchor of my faith and be reminded that Christ alone is my constant in a constantly changing world. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Kristin Landers is a substitute teacher and freelance writer. Landers’ previous work includes serving as Communications Director for the Alabama Policy Institute and working for Citizens Against a Legalized Lottery (CALL) to defeat legalized gambling in the state of Alabama.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.

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