It’s Thanksgiving. That means, we usually sit around the table, gorge ourselves on too much fattening food, complain about Turkey comas, create new reasons for family drama and feuds (who really won at Hearts? or Monte Carlo?), and strategize for Friday’s shopping venture when Evangelicals demand all compulsory buying be done only in Jesus’ name. After all, the Pilgrims are Thursday’s reason for gluttony, and Jesus is the reason for the advent season (do we even know what advent means?).
I will be in the mountains for a good portion of this. Tomorrow, after I work the Thanksgiving Eve service at church I’ll be headed up I70 to a cabin. I am pretty stoked for the next few days. I’ll come home on Friday, not for Black Friday sales but rather for time with other seminarians as we hang out Friday night, play poker and air hockey and probably argue about theological points that have little or no salvific importance.
I think back on various Thanksgivings that I’ve been too and some have been rather meaningful. Others have been a sort of painful experience in dysfunctional American frivolity. It almost seems blasphemous sometimes: the ways we celebrate this holiday and how we only have to say one thing around the table that we’re thankful for in that obligatory game we play before saying “grace.”
I think, perhaps because of a crazy schedule, some incredible stretching in my walk with God, amazing friends and my continual concern for finances, I’m struck with how many things I have to be thankful for this year.
On Sunday night, I designed a curriculum for the kids in my three classes. I sent home Thank You cards with them and a note to their parents. We encouraged families to hang those thank you cards on the fridge, to write letters to God and to draw pictures to thank Him for his good gifts.
So, in an abbreviated sense, the following is my thank you letter to Abba for his many gifts this year.
The London Fog on the desk beside me, wrapped in a cheerful golden sleeve that reminds me of fall time trees as it retains warmth on the cardboard cup. Thank you for reminding me of the sweet things in life, the little pleasures.
The sunshine with a cloudy blanket. Beauty. Thank you.
That beautiful Muslim woman who walked by with her little boy, wearing a gorgeous red hijab that matched the flannel red shirt of the skipping three or four year old. Thank you for reminding me of your heart for all people.
Our charming little apartment, complete with a new shelf and a slightly decreased roach population.
My little white Hyundai. I know I complain about him a lot. But I actually do appreciate him. Honest. He’s got such a good amount of pickup for only being a 4banger.
Money. Or perhaps, better put, work, and money that provides my needs.
My incredibly awesome friends. One just built me a shelf! Another had us over to watch Harry Potter and bake squash! Another has recently offered to pray for me.
Seminary. Papers to write! Books to read! Things to think about! Huzzah for intellect and academia!
My super duper ridiculous awesome family. And the new one who is coming to join in December! Come on Elias! We’re waiting so anxiously!
And mostly, I’m thankful for Jesus. For his love, his grace, his mercy, his strength, his justice and impossible redemption. You are my beautiful Boaz, as Spurgeon once said.
so my friends, my readers near and far, what are you thankful for?