There’s something about annual celebrations that helps us slow down and focus on what really matters. Each time we celebrate a birthday, we may be moved to appreciate life a little more, or reminisce on past experiences. As a couple, when my wife and I celebrate an anniversary, we try to talk about what we appreciate about each other, our marriage and our energetic three boys. We may also take the time to share how we may love or serve one another better.
This week we will be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday – another of our revered annual holiday celebrations. You have probably celebrated a few of those before, and maybe took the time to consider what you are thankful for. Each year I try to come up with something new or different that I am thankful for. However, some things always make the list because they matter that much. Typically, it’s things like family, friends or our faith in God. Here is what I am thankful for this year.
Life – sometimes we take life for granted, until it starts ebbing away, or when we lose a loved one. This year, I am thankful for the life that God continues to give me. God has given me not just biological life but the “zoe” (Greek) type of life. This is a spiritual type of life and it is eternal, abundant and only God can provide that. This is the life that overflows even when our physical life is ebbing away.
Family – God has also blessed me with a beautiful family. My wife and three boys continue to be my joy and my inspiration. Their unconditional love and support cannot be overstated. They also laugh at my not-so-funny jokes and occasionally watch a few minutes of a soccer game with me! For this I am grateful!
Additionally, my parents, brothers and sisters, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews near and far (some very far) are a real blessing. I don’t see or talk to them as much as I wish to, but I am grateful for the blessing they are to me.
Friends – I have many friends that have come into my life at different points and in different arenas. One of my goals over the last year has been to keep regular contact with them. Their friendship is very important to me as a human being. It is a privilege to share about where I am in my faith, talk through ministry challenges or family celebrations! And yes, an occasional gripe session or two find their way in there.
Ministry – This year my wife and I celebrated 10years as officers. Wow, where did the time go! We are now in our third appointment and we continue to experience the “overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God” (Cory Asbury). To be sure – serving the Lord in full-time ministry is something that I never imagined I would spend the rest of my days doing! But thanks be to God and His amazing grace, I am here. We see God’s hand at work in the lives of people God has brought in our care. We have leaders and mentors that have helped shape our ministry along the way!
We are blessed with staff that love the Lord and love what they do and are always willing to go the extra mile. This thanksgiving, I want to thank God for the lay people who are willing to serve in so many different areas as needed. Indeed, it has been a difficult year for our church as we have lost several dedicated church members that have gone to be with the Lord. But through it all, the church people have rallied alongside the sick and the grieving. They have been more than active in hospital and home visitations, making phone calls, sending flowers and lifting prayers up to the God of heaven.
If I could sing, I would be singing the words of this Psalm “ Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever” (Psalm 106:1). I will settle for typing out the verse instead. This post is written with deep and heartfelt gratitude to the God for all the aforementioned blessings!
What are you thankful for this year?