On Thursday all across this nation people will be gathered together with there friends and family to keep our American holiday of Thanksgiving.  Many family traditions will be kept.  The Thanksgiving Day Turkey will be cut by the head of the household, everyoneís favorite ďgrandmaĒ dish will be there, and everyoneís least favorite dish will likely be there too.  There will be laughter, there may even be a few tears as many will realize this could be the last Thanksgiving they get to spend with a  certain loved one.  And there is football.  But, mostly it is a day in which we give thanks.
I believe it was my first Thanksgiving here in Iowa that my plans were altered at the last minute and Dawn and I didnít go home for Turkey day.  A certain sister in Christ opened up her home to us and let us have Thanksgiving with her and her family.  It was the third time Dawn and I had been invited to spend a holiday with a Christian family.  The 1st was while we were in Kennett, MO.  Dawn and I were on way to her mom and dadís for Christmas when the mountains that laid between us were hit with a blizzard.  It came out of nowhere and we were forced to turn around.  We had eaten most of the food in the house because we were supposed to be gone for a week and didnít want anything to go bad.  We had nothing to eat, and everything in town was closed.  I called a dear friend who told me if I ever needed anything just to call.  I told him of our situation and simply asked if they had some left overs they could spare until we could get to the store on the morning.  He scoffed at the idea and told us to come over.  So Christmas, the entire Christmas day was spent with his family.  The second time was right before we moved here to Grinnell.  If you recall, we moved here right after Thanksgiving.  My last Sunday in Rivermont, VA was the Sunday following Thanksgiving.  We were leaving for Iowa on the following Monday.  So, our house was packed.  We werenít going to celebrate Thanksgiving that year.  A brother in Christ heard that we had no plans to celebrate and insisted that not only we go to his home for Thanksgiving, he insisted that we stay at his home through the weekend.  The third, as I mentioned was 4 years ago this Thursday.  Each time, I was reminded for what I was really thankful for.
I am thankful for the amazing people in Godís family.  I know we all have those thanksgivings where things do not go so well.  (My grandmotherís oven quit the day of Thanksgiving one year).  I know that we all have the family member that creates way to much drama every time the family gets together.  But I am thankful that despite those things I have witnessed in my last three church families great generosity to a preacher who was so far from home.  While I am certain that my life would have continued had Dawn and I ate peas that Christmas we were kept from making it to her folks place.  And I am certain Dawn and I would have done just fine sleeping on the floor for a couple of days before we left for Iowa. And I know that Dawn and I could have scrounged up a ham at the last minute to cook for Thanksgiving (remember I am allergic to fowl), that really isnít the point.  It was not about making certain we didnít die, or didnít starve, or were made to be super comfortable.  It was about reaching out and showing love.  And for that I am thankful.
I am thankful that in just two weeks I will have been here for five years.  This means that my youngest has spent her entire life in one church.  My 2nd youngest has spent most of his life here.  He was less than two when we 1st moved here.  My 2nd oldest, while now on his third church at the ripe old age of 9 (a feat I didnít accomplish until I was 19 years old), he has now spent Ĺ his life being a part of one congregation.  And my oldest, she was baptized here earlier this year, making this church an even more special place than it already was.  I am thankful for the impact that you have had on my family.  I am thankful that God has permitted me to be a part of such a great family.
But, none of this even compares to what I am most thankful for.  I am thankful for Godís mercy, grace and love.  He has been so good to me.  My parents werenít perfect, but they loved me deeply.  I couldnít have asked for a better set of grandparents who helped to shape my faith.  I have a wonderful wife who in many ways helped to make me the man I am today.  God gave all this to me when I didnít deserve it.  And most of all, he gave me his son, Jesus Christ.  I certainly didnít deserve that gift.  I have abused it, mistreated it, and neglected it too many times.  And yet, his arms are still outreached pleading for me to come home every time I reject him.  As we sometimes sing, ďOur God is an awesome God.Ē  And I will thank him not just Thursday this week, but every day for the rest of my life.

Grinnell church of Christ
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For What Are You Thankful?

The Light
Volume 5 Issue 49