Considering the disastrous fires that have engulfed our country we feel it important to change our proposed National Day of Thanks Community Focus for 2020 to concentrate our appreciation on our brave and tireless emergency services personnel both paid and volunteer. We see them as regular fire fighters, volunteer fire fighters, SES, Ambos, Police and many others. We also see the many people who have been so seriously impacted by these fires and our hearts and prayers go out to them.
Community Focus 2020
Disaster Recovery. The National Day of Thanks may seem to some too far away to be expressing our gratitude in these circumstances. There is a very immediate need for support for our emergency services and those who have been so seriously impacted by these fires. We encourage you to donate to one of the major support charities but please beware of the deceitful scammers who unfortunately prey on honest vulnerable people at these times.
As Christians let us be the hands and feet of Jesus in supporting, in whatever way it is needed, those who have been impacted by these fires. It may simply be helping to clean up the rubble or as churches in a community uniting and becoming a part of the recovery service that is so needed in the wake of these disasters. There are many resources within a congregation that are needed to rebuild lives and livelihoods after these fires – how can you or your church help? I have heard of one local minister’s association that has gone to their local council and asked how the church in the community can help with the recovery efforts. They went with no church badges, no agendas to gain members, they went with open hands and hearts to help their community.
As a Community Focus for our National Day of Thanks this is an excellent opportunity for Churches to take their very important place in the community. Hold events that say Thank You to all those emergency service personnel. Let them know that what they do is greatly appreciated by the wider community. In the process of expressing your gratitude remember to thank God for the many amazing stories of miraculous escapes from the fires and the many homes that were saved. This is a time to be thankful that the devastation was not more far reaching.
Personal Focus 2020
The Personal Focus is an all year-round attitude of gratitude. It is about living a life of thankfulness and saying Thanks through simple acts of Gratitude to those who have made a difference in your life and the life of your community.
With such a disastrous start to this year it will be necessary for us to dig deep in gratitude to help encourage and rebuild the devastated communities and individual lives that have been impacted. It will take more than a few months or six months to rebuild lives, homes, incomes and communities. It will take encouragement and thankfulness at each step along the way and that is where we come in. We first need to be thankful in all circumstances in our lives to be an encouragement to others so that our simple acts of kindness will be an encouragement and strength to others.
Saying Thanks is not just a word – it is an act of kindness. Kindness is a dimension of God – part of the Love that He is.
Being grateful is not just about saying Thank You on one day a year – it’s about a way of life we live every day of the year. Saying Thank You changes your life and the life of the person you are thanking.
Robert J Burman