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Pastor's Monthly Newsletter Message

November 2010

~Being Thankful~

One of my children recently asked, “What’s your favorite holiday?”  It took me a while to come up with an answer.  As I rummaged around my memory, searching for holiday joys from years gone by, my thoughts kept coming back to Thanksgiving.  Oh, I’m sure it wasn’t my favorite holiday as a child.  How could it be?  Thanksgiving Day is usually pretty gloomy around these parts, overcast and forty degrees.  Darkness falls by 4:30 p.m.  Of course, there’s football on Thanksgiving Day…but have I mentioned that I’m not a huge fan?  There are no Thanksgiving gifts to open, no bright Thanksgiving decorations, and only very little commercial hype.  (Maybe you recall one Thanksgiving advertisement that was on TV many years ago: A testy Puritan wife complains to her Puritan husband about the Thanksgiving turkey.  “Thou shouldst have bagged a Butterball.”)  Nobody sings any sentimental Thanksgiving carols.

But I like the fact that we have a holiday wholly dedicated to gratitude.  The older I get, the more I come to learn that “giving thanks” is really what a life of faith is about: the recognition that my happiness is not something I manufacture for myself.  Like all the best gifts—the ones I never had the wisdom to request—my happiness comes from outside of me.  Being thankful is a worldview; it recognizes God’s hand in the good things in life.  And when we live thankfully, our perspective begins to shift from pride to humility, from anxiety to patience, from fear to trust.  So, in this Thanksgiving Season, I share with you some thoughts about “being thankful.”  ~Brian

 

I say to myself: Be thankful.

Be thankful for the happiness you have known in times past, the moments of mirth and ecstasy, the years of health. How many of your dreams have come true; promises, long deferred, have so often at last been made good.  Be thankful for the dearness of your loved ones, the fidelity of your friends, the courtesy and kindness repeatedly shown you by total strangers.

 

Be thankful that your fears have again and again proven groundless, that you have survived so many close calls, so many narrow escapes; and that the same good fortune has generally followed your children in their misadventures, and your friends likewise.

 

Be thankful not only for the joys that have accompanied your way, and the unnumbered gifts of a kindly providence. Master the harder art of gratitude for life’s sterner lessons. You have known pain, pain that has given you warning of unseen dangers. You have known failure, failure that shattered false hopes of easy victory, and toughened your spirit for renewed efforts. Having made mistakes, you have learned important lessons. Having encountered obstacles, you have found courage and endurance to surmount them. Having known sorrow and loneliness, you have discovered that even these have quickened your sympathy, and taught you your need of others.

 

Be thankful, then, that so much you have not sought and would have by-passed if you could, nonetheless has proved enriching to your experience. Even in life’s dark labyrinthine ways and bitter moments, the person of faith and hope can trace the workings of a mysterious wisdom, and impartial providence, a more than human love.

(Arthur Foote II)