Saturday, November 29, 2008

33 for Thanksgiving (the day after, actually)

Thirty signed up for our pot-luck, plus the three of us (the elder teen didn't travel cross-country to join us for the 4-day weekend -- go figure). Some canceled; I think we had about 25. Friends loaned folding chairs and long tables, and we rented flatware and more folding chairs from an outfit downtown.

Who came? Immigrants from Japan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Korea, China, and the UK at least. Some Americans came, too. "Red and yellow, black and white...."

People brought fabulous food, and good times were had by all. The lovely Carol had asked me to say a few words about thanksgiving (the practice and the American holiday), since we weren't sure everyone knew the story. So I mentioned the foolishness of some early colonists, who ate all their seed grain, and God's provision in spite of their silliness -- the idea being that even when we do dumb things, God is willing and able to help us out.

Then I talked about the idea of giving thanks as a spiritual practice: if you're feeling depressed, it's hard to stay that way after writing down a dozen items I'm thankful for. At least it's hard for me. It's actually not that hard to write a dozen items -- do you have two arms and two legs? Do you know how to read?

I related a conversation I had with a friend at church last Sunday. By making it a habit to give thanks, I said, we can take a step in the direction of more love, joy, and peace. My friend also mentioned his friend's 94-year-old aunt. Her diabetes had reached an advanced stage, and both her legs had been amputated. But when her nephew walked through the door, she turned toward him, her face like the sun. "Johnny! How nice to see you!" He asked how she was doing -- "I'm doing great!"

Now do you suppose that she was grouchy most of her life, then decided at age 90 to become joyful instead? I don't think so! I don't know a lot about this woman, but I think it's a safe bet that thankfulness was a long-standing habit.

One of the attendees added that those who know Jesus have this additional reason to be thankful: that God showed his love toward us in the person of Jesus Christ. He mentioned the passage in 1 Thessalonians 5 that talks about giving thanks in all circumstances -- not necessarily for everything that happens, but whatever happens, we can give thanks to God.

So here is my list for tonight:
  1. I can read. (I'll let you decide whether you think I can write.)
  2. I have access to the internet
  3. great food, in especially great abundance the past few days
  4. a corner market that stocks King's kim chee (or "kimchi")
  5. appliances that work
  6. the knowledge that I'm already forgiven, and the promise that one day I'll be made perfect
  7. ten functioning fingers (or as we'd say in junior-high, eight fingers and two thumbs)
  8. a fascinating, beautiful, sexy wife
  9. enough turkey gravy for once (1½ quarts)
  10. a keyboard setup that more or less works for the lovely Carol
  11. leftovers
  12. blue sky today
  13. orange clouds at sunset
  14. the younger teen's whistling
  15. Ender in Exile (Card)
  16. Return of the King (the novel and the film)

1 comment:

jfille said...

i'm thankful for -you-, and your blog, and blogs in general, and for yogurt, and a transportable laptop, and for finally getting 'home'.