Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.
“But who am I, and who are my people,
that we should be able to give as generously as this?
Everything comes from you,
and we have given you only what comes from your hand."
1 Chronicles 19:13-14
I broke a tradition this year at my house. Until this year, I have been pretty set against any decorating or listening to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. It just seemed wrong.
Last year; however, I have to admit that I really didn't enjoy Christmas at all. It was nice, but I never experienced the peace that is supposed to be so much of what the holiday is about. We hurried to decorate and rushed from here to there, and we gave gifts (which is my FAVORITE part of the holiday - not the receiving but the giving). But the joy was lost in the to do.
This year, we have already started decorating our home (just a little bit), and I have enjoyed listening to, and singing along, with the Christmas music that some of our local radio stations have been playing to start the holiday season. And you know, that is exactly what it is...a holiday season.
As a culture we have no problem going from basketball season to baseball season to soccer season to football season. And these seasons each consist of more than one game, right? So why can't our holiday season contain more than one holiday? There is overlap in our sports seasons - just ask any mother. So why when it comes to celebrating all that God has done for us, are we so adamant that there has to be a very distinct difference. In fact, as Christians, aren't we supposed to be thankful and celebrate what God has done for us every day of our year?
But today, instead of writing a letter to Santa, I would like to write a Thanksgiving letter to God, and I would like to share it with you.
I wanted to take a minute or two today to thank you for who you are and for all of the blessings that you have given to me, and my family, and my friends this year. I know that we do not deserve any of them, but in your grace and mercy, you have chosen us to be part of your family, and I think that is pretty cool.
I am thankful for my family, both close and extended. I have thought many times this week about how they have impacted my life and made me the person that I am today. Some good - some not so good, but each a part of me.
I am thankful for my friends. Many of them have faced obstacles this year that I cannot imagine, and yet you have been with them, and continue to walk with them, through it all. I am thankful for that. I am also thankful that you allow me to be part of their lives. They are all unique, and I love each one of them.
I am thankful for the blessing of my home and my country. I know that I am sometimes frustrated and discontent, but I know deep down how very blessed that I am. And I know as a nation that we are not walking a path that you approve, but I am thankful for your mercy.
I am thankful that you walk with me every day. I am thankful that even in the times when I struggle, you are always there. I would like to say that I am thankful for the struggles, but I really can't. I hope that they will ultimately make me a better me than I am now; and I am thankful that you work all things for good in me as your child, but it would be a lie to say that I am thankful for the struggles themselves. Because of that, I am thankful there is forgiveness.
I am thankful to be blessed that my job is part of my ministry, and I am blessed to work with an awesome staff of people who love you and who want to serve others. I am thankful for the blessing of Eric and his leadership. I am thankful for the blessing of seeing you through his leadership and commitment to serve.
I am thankful for Amanda, Melanie, Chris, Pam, Becky, Sue, Susan, Denise and Annette. I am thankful that you have brought each of these people into my life in a meaningful way. That you have used them to support and encourage and to, at times, kick my butt, in my walk with you. I am thankful to you for the gift of their friendship.
I am thankful for Jay and the boys. Michael, Ryan and Jaron can drive me to the edge of insanity at times (as can Jay :) ), but they are gifts from you, and I am thankful for the opportunity to watch them grow and develop into the men that you have created them to be. I am especially thankful for the glimpses of maturity I see in each one of them from time to time - the promise that they are yours and that I have not totally screwed them up. I am thankful for Jay, for his love and support. For his dedication to providing for his family and to being there for us.
I am most thankful for Your Son. I cannot imagine what it was like to for You to send Him to earth to die for a people whose every inclination was to turn away from You. I am thankful for Your sacrifice. I am thankful for His willingness to die for me, and for Your persistence in drawing me closer to You. I am blessed.
Thank you for these things and so many more that are too numerous to count. You are amazing and awesome and holy and righteous and just, and I am thankful that I am Yours.
Regardless of the decor around your table today, I hope that you will take a few minutes to reflect on the true meaning of this holiday season - God's best gifts given to you. I am thankful that I can share my random thoughts with you. Your willingness to read my ramblings has helped me to process many things that until this blog I had been unable to put into words. So whether you realize it or not, you have been a blessing. And, I am thankful.