It’s finally Thanksgiving and I’m happy. Even more, I’m grateful.
I’m grateful for this year’s Thanksgiving enchiladas, chili rellenos, smoked ham, sweet potatoes with poblano chilies, pecan cream pie, and healthy apple cake.
I’m grateful for a second chance to work through many of my life goals (especially hiking and backpacking goals).
I’m grateful that, for all the things in life I worry about, I don’t worry about Cyndi loving me. She make me braver, stronger, nobler, and more creative.
I’m grateful for the circle of people God has entrusted to us: family, friends, and ministry.
I’m grateful to be surrounded by big-picture thinkers who live their lives and calling in God’s larger story.
I’m grateful for longstanding traditions. Maybe the reason we hang on so desperately to family traditions (watching the Muppet Christmas Carol, running the Turkey Trot, reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, going to a Thanksgiving movies, decorating the yard and house, and like that) is because we need them. Too many things in life change too much too fast; we need traditions to hang on to.
I’m grateful for my family who introduced me to Jesus before I was old enough to walk or talk. In fact, they had me in church long before I was old enough to roll over, or even hold my head up by myself. Rich Mullins once wrote, "Despite our insistence that we are self-made men and women, we are dependent creatures. We like to think that we determine our destiny, but in reality we have very little to do with it. The people who raised us, our parents and our older siblings and our extended family, have tremendous influence on who we become." I’m grateful for a family legacy of multiple generations following Him, who continually put me in the path of God. They made my own decision to follow Jesus so much easier.
I’m grateful for the people who love me. Love is a huge risk no matter how you come at it, and yet the people who’ve loved me longest still do. It’s a rare blessing I don’t take for granted.
I’m grateful for gratitude itself. People who regularly practice gratitude experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. It’s not a passive activity.
Being intentionally grateful takes courage because so many things come at us unexpectedly. It’s easier, lazier, to simply complain about everything, but who wants to live a sorry life like that. How do you live more gratefully? First, you just decide to do it. As my dad said after an hour of hiking on Guadalupe Peak, “You can’t train for this, you just have to do it.”
I believe the grace of God follows, even chases after, hearts full of gratitude. And so, I hope this holiday season is a grateful, thankful, worship experience for you. Thank you for reading these blog entries. I am grateful for you.
“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32