Being thankful for a dumpster fire seems like a weird thing.
And if I'm being honest, I don't suppose it's the actual shinola of 2020 that I'm thankful for. It's what that shinola provided.
Think of all the things that have been stripped away during the coronavirus pandemic. We've missed out on hometown sports and get-togethers and shopping and parades and ... well ... you name it.
Many of us have lost loved ones or suffered ourselves thanks to the virus' effects.
And we've gone through much more than COVID-19.
Our nation has seen a nasty election — both sides were ugly — and a media that seemed wildly unbalanced.
We've witnessed riots and looting — as well police whose actions have warranted protests.
Through it all, we've had a chance to grow. A chance to be better. A chance to focus on the things that matter.
Because apparently we needed it.
In the end, it's 2020's reminders of what matters that really mean something.
The reminder that people still matter. Grace still matters. Love still matters.
Through all of the garbage we've witnessed this year, people have remained. People who are as loved by their Creator as you and I are.
● That nasty Republican across the street? Yep, God loves him as much as He loves you.
● That weird Democrat neighbor? God loves her, too.
● That Antifa protester busting store windows and setting fires and taking whatever he pleases? Still loved by the Big Guy.
● That alt-right white supremacist? Loved.
● That governor who handed down the lockdown edict that closed your gym or shuttered your business or canceled your school year because, as you believe, he's on a power trip? God's love is for him.
● That governor who refused to mandate masks or enact other COVID-19 mandates because, as you believe, he doesn't care if grandma dies? The cross covers him, too.
It's a crazy thing to consider, but 2020 has given us a lot of opportunities to remember that if God loves all of us that much, then the very least that we can do is to try to love each other that much.
We're not called to love just during the easy times, or to love only the people who are easy to love. That's not how real love works. Real love happens without consideration for situations or whether love will be returned.
True love just loves — and that's all it does.
● It's about everyone else all the time.
● It's about coming alongside and just being with people.
● It's about following God to people who are hurting — and there are a lot of them — and being there when they hit the ground hard. ("Catching people on the bounce," as Bob Goff puts it.)
● It's about drawing a great big circle around everybody and saying they're all in your circle — just like the circle grace drew around all of us.
This year has been ... something. A lesson for us all. A chance to love the way we should. A chance to just be with people.
Be thankful for that.