Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day Reflections

Aaron is home from college. The leaves drift slowly from their perch on the pecan tree toward the ground. The smells of our upcoming Thanksgiving Day lunch now fill the house. The table is already set; it sits waiting for the banquet that will soon define it. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade passes by via the television screen in the den. The house is peaceful, but a sense of anticipation stirs the air. It is good to spend a Thanksgiving with family. I am glad for this special time with my family. I am thankful for the people that my children are becoming. I am glad for the joy I find in my marriage with Beth. Perhaps my sense of thankfulness is particularly heightened this time of year as I remember that it was in this season eight short years ago they put me in a medically induced coma in an effort to save my life. While the long journey into darkness would claim my family and me for some time, the light of life and joy on this side of the journey is more profound. It makes me more thankful for the smaller things like claiming an hour to watch “Fox and the Hound” with my nearly grown children. Joy claims me when I simply have he opportunity to watch my family laugh and play together. There was a time when doctors came with a dark and difficult prognosis. This is now a distant memory. Life and the simple things of life now claim my heart and draw me toward an authentic sense of thankfulness. This sense of thankfulness is multiplied when I think about the church staff that I get to work beside each day. It echoes in my heart when I look at the congregation at First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City who have been willing to stretch beyond their comfort zones act as the hands and feet of Christ to touch our community and our world. It sings out in my soul when I come into worship each week and experience the power of God’s word and way in how we worship together. It still me when I realize again and again that this same congregation gives me the freedom to be me, to speak what I believe to be true, and to lead where I believe God is calling us to go. It leaps in my heart when I think about the developing collaborative network of churches that are working together to empower each other in mission and ministry that together we might have a great impact in our world for God. I know that the great gifts of family, of friend, of colleagues, and congregation begin at the feet of God. So this Thanksgiving Day I join the Psalmist and declare:

Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his ; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:3-5 (NIV)

Happy Thanksgiving! Tom

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