This is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad!

It may seem like this is a difficult time for rejoicing. For the past month the whole world has been plunged into a pandemic. Unthinkable. People getting sick and dying. Everything is shutdown. People out of work and losing their life savings. Huge problems and stupid problems all occurring at the same time to everyone on the planet. Toilet paper and Purell are difficult to find both in my town and in Austalia. No more swimming with my friends at the YMCA, or lunching at my favorite restaurant. We wear masks when we are in public. My daughter grocery shops for me. Life changed in the blink of an eye. And it is uncertain when things will get back to “normal.” If normal even exists anymore. How can anyone possibly rejoice?

We learn to rejoice by focusing on what is good and taking our eyes off of what is scaring us.

The older I get, the more I realize how precious every day is and the more I recognize how grateful I am for new beginnings every morning.

I have experienced tragedy multiple times. Several years ago, my daughter died suddenly. Unexpectedly. I had just had breakfast with her barely 12 hours before. I still grapple with the shock of it. How can she just not be here anymore? But the day before she died had been a good day. We had laughed and talked and enjoyed each other’s company. It was my last day with her on earth.

All this has taught me to appreciate my loved ones — every day. This past autumn several of my friends lost their homes in the terrible wildfires in our area. They lost absolutely everything overnight. Life can change that fast. All those paintings and antiques that were so carefully selected. The kitchens that took them two years to remodel – gone in a flash.

But it doesn’t mean we live in fear. One thing we could all learn from this chaos is that we need to appreciate every day. Every. Day. The long ones, the boring ones, the silly ones, and even the socially distant ones. That little baby will grow up and be a teenager. Then a young adult and then your friend. Every day, every moment connects to itself and you will wish you could remember all the crayon drawings, and peanut butter hugs, and tearful goodbyes.

Life on earth has its limits.

But that makes it all the dearer. When we rejoice over every day we are showing our gratitude for the gifts God has given us, even if only temporarily. I love and miss my daughter. But I am forever grateful for the many years I had with her. And I know I will see her again – this time for eternity when I get to Heaven.

Yes, the pandemic has turned the world upside down but we will get through it. In the meantime, take a moment today to be reminded of how much you do have. Be thankful for the gift of your family and friends, and for the gift of God’s eternal love.

Remember that this is the day the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad!!