Wednesday Word: Happy Thanksgiving

All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above; then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord for all his love.

Hymn 291, chorus

This is probably my favorite Thanksgiving Day hymn, even though it doesn't really fit for the people of most churches, what with its verses of plowing fields, scattering seed, and sending harvests. However, it's a catchy tune, and somebody has to scatter, plow, and reap. But what I really like are those words of the chorus.

Thanksgiving Day is tomorrow. Some will be with family. Some will be with friends. Some will be with friends and family. Some will be with neither. Some will be invited. Some will be ignored. Some will go elsewhere. Some will have nowhere to go. Because of this, Thanksgiving can be a stressful time of year for many of us.

But, just for today, I would like to put on my Pollyanna glasses and hope that everyone reading this will be involved in a drama-free, food-full Thanksgiving Day celebration. And as you are participating in this uniquely American event that officially kicks off the holiday season, take some time and reflect on the words of Hymn 291.

There are good gifts all around us. From friends and family, to homes and jobs, to the food we eat. Pay attention to those good gifts and remember that they are but peripheral items in our God-centered lives, and remember to give thanks for all those gifts and all God's love.

For my part, I am thankful for the Profile and Search Committees – for their dedication to getting it right, for their days and nights working on a vitally important task, and for their willingness to look outside generally accepted parameters. I am thankful for the parishioners of St. John's who were willing to follow the necessary steps in calling a new rector. I am thankful for everyone who took the time to listen to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit.

I am thankful for those who made this move possible. I am thankful for those who made this move, if not perfectly smooth, tolerable and mostly painless. I am thankful for those who are helping me and my family get adjusted to life on the other side of the country. I am thankful for a moving company that only broke two things and lost none.

I am thankful for a junior and senior warden who worked to see we were cared for. I am thankful for Mark who not only oversees a fabulous choir, but who works to ensure every liturgy is well-crafted. I am thankful for Melonie who does more than anyone knows. I am thankful for Margaret and her work with the children. I am thankful for all of the liturgical ministers and altar guild who have kept me on track these first few Sundays. I am thankful for the enthusiasm of everyone in the pews.

I am thankful for my wife and daughter who have taken this move in stride and are learning just where it is they fit in. I am thankful for the people who remember to include them.

All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above. I am thankful God sent me here.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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