Thankful Anyway

Thanksgiving

This was my Thanksgiving post six years ago. My how times have changed, and how, in many ways, they are still exactly the same…

It was a morning of contradictions. The dawn was about to break, seemingly obscured by a thick blanket of low clouds filling the horizon. As we drove out of the neighborhood and Steve clicked on the car radio, I was struck by the onslaught of evil our world had only recently sustained.

The capture and probably massacre of students in Mexico.

The death of an Ottawa honor guard at the hands of a terrorist.

The usual (When did it become usual?) litany of crimes and punishments taking place throughout our land.

It’s so easy to despair, to decide we’ve been forsaken and that all is lost forever. Yet even as the radio droned on, the sun rose, splashing red and gold across the sky, those ominous clouds now serving as mirrors to reflect the spectacular light.

What a perfectly timed reminder for me. I could hear a childhood hymn playing in my memory banks.

Oh, who can make a sunrise?

I know I can’t. Can you?

On who can make a sunrise?

No one but God, that’s true.*

He’s so much bigger than we are, so much greater than even our most consuming heartaches and difficulties.

It’s time for Thanksgiving! Actually, it’s always time for thanks giving. Yes, there are dark days behind us and before us, but the sun also rises. The SON also rises. He is, ever was, always will be Lord of all, and he will carry us through the darker days. I hope you are approaching this season with a life full of good things. But either way, He is always reason enough to give thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving!

*My apologies to the lyricist. I am unable to find the source of this song.

For Tomorrow: 1 Thessalonians 5

This is God’s will for you:

Rejoice always!

Pray continually. 

Give thanks in all circumstances.

And so, may God grace you with a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo by GDJ via pixabay.com

Thankful?

turkey-1456358_1280

Hello, my friends! I just finished doing my holiday grocery shopping. It is astounding how grumpy people can be while choosing delicious and surprisingly affordable items (eight sweet potatoes for a dollar!) from a clean, well-lit, climate controlled palace of food. Yes, it was crowded. So are parties and sporting events, so… 

Hey, it’s THANKSgiving, not Grumpsgiving. I hope you’ll be the counterculture kid this holiday season, smiling and reminding everyone of all the gifts we already have. And, just in case you need a bit of extra encouragement, please take a moment to watch this video. Yes, I know, it’s going viral, and you may have already seen it. Even if that’s the case, I hope you’ll watch it again. Powerful stuff!

Have a wonderful holiday!

Thank You, God.

kermit-985610_1280

Today I’d like to share two great Thanksgiving memories with you.

The first: Watching the Macy’s Day Parade as my mom’s turkey, dressing, and homemade pecan pie filled our house with a mouthwatering aroma. I’ve given you Kermit. You will have to come up with your own turkey and pie.

The second: Attending Thanksgiving services at St. Andrews  Presbyterian Church in Hollywood, Florida. We always sang these wonderful lyrics, published by Theodore Baker in 1894.

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

We also had an open mike session, a time when all who were present were given an opportunity to proclaim God’s goodness and describe that for which they were thankful. I will begin. I am thankful to be healthy and to be surrounded by a family who loves me. (Of course, that’s just the beginning of my list.)

Now it’s your turn. What’s on the top of your “Thank you, God” list this year?

And to all of you, may this be a very Happy Thanksgiving!!

 

Basic Blessings, Part Two

abundance

Years ago, I learned of the global water crisis. In much of the world, women will walk miles every morning, each bringing back a 5 gallon container filled with 40 pounds of dirty water. It will have to suffice for all their families’ needs until the end of the day, when they repeat the trip. Many who drink the water will fall ill, but they have no other choice.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that a great many organizations are working to help change the situation: Living Water International, charity: water, Blood:Water Mission, and The Water Project are just a few of the ministries changing lives every day, working to make the water crisis a thing of the past. Recently, a friend told me about Partners for Care, an organization whose mission is to provide salaries to Kenyans who carry out their work and vision there. Their health, sanitation and water improvement programs are led and accomplished by Kenyans for Kenyans.

One of the Kenyans, a pastor, came to the USA for the first time in order to meet with the staff of Partners for Care. As you can imagine, the cultural differences he saw here were astounding. His observations were both amusing and thought provoking. I’ve been given permission to share them with you.

  • “Is it illegal for people not to own a car?” (He hadn’t seen anyone walking.)
  • “Are you allowed to drive old cars in the US?” (By Kenyan standards all our cars are new.)
  • “Is there hot water in the shower, and is the tap water safe to drink?”
  • “I slept with my blanket over my head last night. I could not find any mosquito netting.”
  • “America is dollar country because it has everything. You can even sleep outside, because there are no wild animals to eat you. Americans have plenty of firewood, but most don’t even need it.” (He mentioned that he was expecting a call from his family soon to say that they had run out of firewood.)
  • “How can you throw food away?” (He had even eaten the little package of butter at a restaurant because he didn’t want to see it wasted.)

Today I will take a hot shower, drink clean water, eat plenty of food, ride in a new (ish) car, and go to sleep in a climate controlled, mosquito-free bedroom. And because of that Kenyan Pastor, I’ll be more keenly aware of those basic blessings! Happy Thanksgiving indeed!

Thankful Anyway

Thanksgiving

It was a morning of contradictions. The dawn was about to break, seemingly obscured by a thick blanket of low clouds filling the horizon. As we drove out of the neighborhood and Steve clicked on the car radio, I was struck by the onslaught of evil our world had only recently sustained.

  • The capture and probably massacre of students in Mexico.
  • The death of an Ottawa honor guard at the hands of a terrorist.
  • The usual (When did it become usual?) litany of crimes and punishments taking place throughout our land.

It’s so easy to despair, to decide we’ve been forsaken and that all is lost forever. Yet even as the radio droned on, the sun rose, splashing red and gold across the sky, those ominous clouds now serving as mirrors to reflect the spectacular light.

What a perfectly timed reminder for me. I could hear a childhood hymn playing in my memory banks.

Oh, who can make a sunrise?

I know I can’t. Can you?

On who can make a sunrise?

No one but God, that’s true.*

He’s so much bigger than we are, so much greater than even our most consuming heartaches and difficulties.

It’s time for Thanksgiving! Actually, it’s always time for thanks giving. Yes, there are dark days behind us and before us, but the sun also rises. The SON also rises. He is, ever was, always will be Lord of all, and he will carry us through the darker days. I hope you are approaching this season with a life full of good things. But either way, He is always reason enough to give thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving!

*My apologies to the lyricist. I am unable to find the source of this song.