Thanksgiving Gives Perspective

Life is fleeting. Relationships are gifts. Love is of God. Peace holds people together (within themselves as well as with others). Having the privilege of experiencing any one of these is cause for thanksgiving. Being part of a Church, where it all is taking place, simultaneously, ought to be cause for an overflow of thanksgiving and praise!

When people are in the process of giving thanks to God for the things they do have and enjoy, it leaves no room for the muttering, grumbling and complaining that discourages both the one doing the grumbling and the ones who have to listen to it! Unfortunately, while there are some people who get into the habit of doing the complaining, some others are all too happy to man the tables at the complaint department! When that happens, everybody loses, because the momentary joys of life listed above are lost.

As a young man, I had the distinct privilege of working in a long-term care facility in Nashville, Tennessee. I took a job there right out of seminary, so I literally went from an ivory tower into the valley of the shadow! I say that, not because it was an unpleasant place to work, but because it was a long-term care facility, so there were many residents who were at the end of life’s road.

But since I was a young male, along with my work with the regular population, I was also tasked with the responsibility of doing groups with young men who had been incapacitated in some way or another. This group included those who had been relegated to life in wheel chairs, either because of drug deals gone wrong, bar fights that ended badly, reactions from drug overdoses, botched suicide attempts, and even one case of a man, blind and lame from birth defects.

The interesting thing is that among them I also found friends. I found a wealth of information. I got an education from some of these men that I would never have received in my otherwise sheltered life. From them I learned to be joyful, simply for walking out of that facility on my own two feet, if nothing else.

Beyond that, I learned that life doesn’t always stop just because we want to get off the bus. Sometimes it goes on; even through the very worst case scenarios that young people never see coming. These men taught me that a smile and an encouraging word goes a long way. In fact, it goes a lot farther for some people than you would ever imagine.

I learned that simple acts of human compassion are not so simple, after all. I learned that attitudes are everything. From them, I learned that God is good all the time; even when some people aren’t.

So, as we have the opportunity to approach another season of thanksgiving, let’s start enjoying the life that God has given us, individually, and especially as a Church; a group of people who have the privilege to enjoy some of this fleeting time called life; to relish more deeply our on-going relationships with others;  and to savor the love and peace that come from God. Let’s do it with an attitude of thanksgiving for it all, in Christ!

Blessings & Peace,

Brother Dan
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”                                                                               – 
Colossians 3:12-15, NKJV