With being in Brussels, it isn’t necessarily the same as if we were with family in the States for this 4-day holiday weekend. Nevertheless, we are joining in with other Americans for a great celebration. And last year it was great to have a Bulgarian and German family celebrate with us at our home.
For many Americans, Thanksgiving is a day mainly of family, food and football (well, in my home, the women always watched a movie in another room rather than watch football with them men).
I suppose, as Christians, some might look at those 3 f’s above and think, ‘Where is the thanksgiving being given on Thanksgiving?’ I would encourage us to be careful with working too hard to make things so spiritual. In one sense, I’d argue that things are inherently ‘spiritual’ (literally ‘of the Spirit’) by nature for Christians, at least as we realise God’s Spirit is involved in all things we are, since he has taken up residence amongst and within God’s people. Of course, that focus isn’t always present. But let’s be careful not to overdo this thing by hammering people with certain expectations of what it means to make Thanksgiving more spiritual and Christian.
But I do want to express my gratefulness to God today. As I share, I can’t expect all to understand the in’s and out’s of the details of my life, but I share a few things of which I overflow with thanks.
1) I’m grateful for God’s provision
For starters, as I said, here is a point where I cannot fully express some of what I would identify as God’s miraculous provision for me and my family in 2011. If I could share all the details of His financial provision into our lives, I think one would be blown away. For us, this is centred in the great opportunity we had to move into a home this past summer, a 4-bedroom, full-sized home, one with a yard-garden and a place to live out our heart of hospitality even more.
Thank you, Father, for Your provision.
2) I’m grateful for our family
I am thankful to be a family of four now with our newest boy, Joshua, arriving this past summer. Four feels more like an official family, though three is good as well. We shall see what God provides in the future by way of family. But I am so humbled as I ponder the beautiful wife and two sons God has given me. They are true treasures in my life!
I’m also thankful that we continue to see our families from both England and America. Not as much as if we lived in either of those countries. But we have seen them much more than we could have anticipated. In 3 and a half years, we have been able to return to the States 3 times with my parents also coming over to visit upon the arrival of both grandsons, not to mention my mom has been over another 3 times on her own. That’s a lot of provision needed as well to cover travel costs, flights, etc.
Thank you, Father, for our family.
3) I’m grateful for our church family
We have walked through some points of transition and learning in these 3 and a half years thus far in Belgium. And I have been humbled to realise how naive I was coming into a different country and culture, as well as into an international and transient local church context. But God has provided people around us and given us a church that is moving forward in the purposes of God. It didn’t all happen at once and there is much to still move forward into. We have had to learn patience and grace, for others and for ourselves, as we have missed things here and there. But God has been the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. He has been so faithful.
Thank you, Father, for our church family.
I’m thankful for more and I could have shared more around each point. That that will suffice for now.
In all, I leave you with these words from Ben & Robin Pasley from their song, Come Fall On Us.
A thankful heart prepares the way for You, my God.
Yes, it truly does!