Every day is a day to give thanks, and I try to do that every night in my evening prayers. But in the U.S. we set aside the fourth Thursday of November as a special day.
On this fourth Thursday in 2015, I have so much to be thankful for.
First on my list is my husband, Steve, who is standing in the kitchen chopping vegetables for a savory bread dressing, a staple of the meal that goes with this day. I am thankful for the miracle he is in my life; not looking for a life mate, our paths crossed fourteen years ago and here we are today. Sharing life. Sharing love. Sharing joy and sorrow. ‘Til death do us part.
I am thankful for brothers and sisters who have walked through the hard times of head injury, of broken marriages and of new marriages, of loss through disease and grievous loss through crime. We once were seven, and now we are six, but the six remain a unit bound together through love. We are family.
I am thankful for friends who open up the world as a place to experience God’s glory and his grace. They encourage. They grieve for, mourn with, and on the other side they celebrate in joy. They are faithful women. They are lay and clergy – men and womenI am thankful for friends who open up the world as a place to experience God’s glory and his grace. They encourage. They grieve for, mourn with, and on the other side they celebrate in joy. They are faithful women. They are lay and clergy – men and women.
They sing. They dance. Their tears flow with mine. Their laughter is a symphony. They will go anywhere. They will do anything. Even when it is so hot the sweat pours off their faces; even when they are drinking their tenth cup of deep, dark, sweet Arabic coffee when they would rather have an iced tea. They will venture to places that cause people to say, “You are so brave!”, even when they know it is not their courage, but the courage of others that draws them into participation in life because they know where real courage comes from.
I am thankful for the church I have come to know in Lebanon and Syria and Iraq. I am thankful that when I say I believe in God the Father almighty, and in his son, my savior Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit who is my guide and comfort, that I say it in community with the saints of old and the saints of now. They are embodied in Catholic, Orthodox and Reformed congregations and the faith and courage and perseverance they model every day in the midst of war and terror and death is a reminder to me of what it means to follow this triune God. He does not promise us life without loss, but he does offer us life abundant. And when I see how abundant life is in the church in these hard places, I have seen this promise lived out daily.
I am thankful for grace. For I have deserved it not, earned it not, purchased it not. But it has been freely given at great cost.
Dona nobis pacem.