I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. Eph. 1:16
Yesterday we celebrated the thoroughly American holiday of Thanksgiving. It was a day that many of us gathered with others to enjoy a feast and possibly some football. I like Thanksgiving – the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television in the morning, the banquet of turkey with all the fixings in the afternoon and the napping in front of a televised football game in the evening. What I like most about Thanksgiving, however, is the cultural convention of setting aside time to express gratitude.
I sometimes fear that if I didn’t observe the holiday of Thanksgiving I wouldn’t offer the prayers of thanksgiving. That is especially true regarding the object for which I ought to be grateful mentioned in Ephesians 1:16. While I may be taking this verse out of context, it does prod me to thinking that I don’t express my thanks to the people around me as frequently as I should.
I give thanks for my wife and children. The Lord fully blessed me with a partner who complements and enhances my strengths and compensates for my weaknesses. Most of the good things that define me have been shaped by having Jeanine by my side. My life is also enriched by four wonderful and wonderfully different children. I thank God for their uniqueness that enables me to grow every day.
I give thanks for my extended family. My loving parents and my three awesome siblings are all gifts from above. From the time I entered life until now they have always been there for me and supported me. All the other good things that define me have come from them. Through them, I also thank God for a wonderful step-mother, a great brother-in-law, two great sisters-in-law, and ten nieces and nephews. My cup further overflows with Jeanine’s side of the family – my wonderful mother-in-law, two great brothers-in-law and two great sisters-in-law, not to mention four more great nieces and nephews.
I give thanks for my church family. They are a blessing as to me. God has given me a rich variety of people to stretch my faith and serve alongside. I am grateful to God for the church and all the different-than-me people He has enabled me to know – all for my betterment.
I give thanks for my children’s teachers. They do a job I am ill equipped to perform and do it all with grace and gladness.
I give thanks for my service providers. In the world we live in, it is a blessing to have mechanics, cable technicians, computer repairers, grocers, fire fighters, police officers, doctors, nurses, cooks, waiters and about a hundred other occupations who are able to help me excel.
I give thanks for my elected officials. Whether I agree or disagree with their stands on the issues, I thank God for their willingness to serve in such a high-pressure position.
I give thanks for my neighbors. I appreciate their camaraderie and their patience with us – in both the old neighborhoods and the new neighborhood. I thank God for their lives which, at times, require that I grow in patience as well.
I give thanks for my friends. I am blessed by all those who have been given to me by God to be my ‘family-of-choice’.
I give thanks for my critics. While I have a hard time thanking them for what they say, I am grateful that they say it. God uses even those words to bless me.
For whom could you give thanks?