As Thanksgiving is upon us, I count myself among the multitudes of people who, among the craziness of the season, endeavor to set aside some time to reflect on what I'm thankful for. T - time. I'm thankful for the time I've gotten with friends and family this year. It’s always been a challenge for me to balance social time with personal time, but my greatest memories are of days and nights I have spent in the company of those closest to me.
H- home. I'm thankful for both the physical home I have, the roof over my head, and the fact that I have places to call home-- places where I am loved and welcomed.
A – ability and health. I so often take for granted the fact that God wove together a body that is capable of so many miraculous things—from running races to reading books to listening to music to crocheting scarves. So many of my favorite activities use skills that depend upon my body working properly, and I’m so grateful that it does. I too frequently focus on the things that aren’t working right, when I should spend more time recognizing the abilities and health that I do have.
N - new things. I have really never been a big proponent of change, but I'm learning to embrace it more and more as I experience positive changes in my life. I'm thankful for precious new friendships, delicious new foods, setting and achieving new goals, new vision, new responsibilities, new opportunities, and the fact that every day is new-- a chance to start fresh.
K - knowledge. I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to grow up in a country that provides education for everyone, and to have been able to continue my education at a four-year university, as I know how different that is from how many people around the world live. I learned a great deal through my college experience, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.
S - salvation. I'm so grateful that I don't have to work to try to be good enough to get into Heaven on my own, but can rest assured that my eternity is secure through the blood of Christ and live for Him now while looking forward to seeing Him face to face one day.
G - grace. I've been treated far more kindly than I deserve, blessed beyond measure, and forgiven far more times than I could possibly count.
I – imagination. I adore good books, and I’m increasingly appreciative of the kind of imagination it takes to create works of literature. In a similar vein, I will never cease to be amazed at the vivid imagination our God must have in order to have made this wondrously varied world with all its eccentricities and curious creatures.
V – vocation. I’m grateful to have a job with such a great team of coworkers. I am thankful for the reliability of a consistent paycheck, in that it allows me to spend time and money on what I love.
I – interesting people. I have been blessed with so many wonderful people—friends, family, and friends I consider family. I wouldn’t be who I am without their presence and influence, and I get excited just thinking about making more time to truly cherish those relationships in the year to come. I feel like I have discovered just how much I value people in the last year, and seeing family members become friends, reconnecting long-distance friendships, seeing whole communities come together in good times and bad. I can’t help but feel blessed.
N - nature. When I spend time outside, I see so much evidence of God's creativity-- in the trees as they change color, rushing streams, secluded wooded paths, gorgeous lake views, and most especially spectacular sunrises and sunsets. They never fail to remind me of His greatness and my smallness.
G – growth. I’m thankful for the ways in which I’ve experienced personal growth this year. I challenged myself relationally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically, and it feels good to say that I’m better than I was last year, taking strides toward being who I want to become.
I am grateful for many more things, and I encourage you to take a moment away from the frenetic pace of the season to think of at least a few things you have to be grateful for. And may you all have a very happy Thanksgiving!