Thanksgiving will be different for many of us this year. We might have welcomed a new member to the family or lost a loved one. Suggestions for restricted travel might prevent us from seeing someone we had hoped to see.

Some of us have worked harder and longer because of COVID-19 while others of us have lost jobs or even our businesses, and our bank accounts reflect these changes.

As we do in wearing a seatbelt, going to the doctor for a check-up, getting vaccinated or walking on the sidewalk, many of us will take preventative measures to help keep our loved ones and ourselves safe this holiday season.

This will result in fewer people around the turkey and dressing, but hopefully not in less giving of thanks.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians at Thessalonica, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). He did not say to give thanks for all circumstances, but in all circumstances.

Whether going through joyous times, difficult times or a combination, our lives are improved vastly when we view them through the lens of thankfulness.

If we make an effort to notice the many good and undeserved things God has brought our way, our attitudes change. Life becomes more pleasant, as do we.

Let us come to God this Thanksgiving with gratitude.

Henry Alford, British theologian, hymn writer and former Dean of Canterbury, wrote in 1844, “Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home; all is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.

“God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied; come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.

“Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring thy final harvest home; gather thou thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin, There, forever purified, in thy presence to abide; come, with all thine angels, come, raise the glorious harvest home.”

Let us come to God this Thanksgiving with praise.

“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” (Psalm 95:1-7)

Celia Stone is the children’s minister at Farmville Presbyterian Church.