“But thanks be to God”: A second reflection

Today is the day designated for public thanksgiving to our Creator for the gracious gifts which he has lavished on us by his divine Providence. Last year I wrote at length about many ways he has blessed me over the span of my life so far, and in particular the many people he has brought into my life in important ways for whom (and which) I am thankful.

Everything I said in that lengthy essay is still true, and bears repeating, but instead today I’ll focus on what I’m thankful for that’s new or changed this past year, perhaps also mentioning things that I forgot last year. Since I have a great deal less time to prepare this year’s essay, and a much more limited scope, I strongly encourage you to read (and comment on) last year’s grateful-retrospective as well.

I am first grateful for the good news of the Gospel, that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.” That God stooped from heaven to “reconcile us to him by the blood of his cross,” and bound us to him and himself to us by a gracious covenant.

I am grateful for another year of life and health. I am grateful for the small income I’ve had this year. I am grateful for continued fellowship in person with my family and my church here, and with my friends virtually.

I am thankful that God has given me words this year, in large quantities with effort in the background work I’m doing for my series-in-preparation, the Shine Cycle and a little poetry with delight and scarcely more. (As I’ve mentioned elsewhere and perhaps here, I consider how often I have poetry come to me a symptom of my spiritual and emotional health.) I am thankful to God and to the people concerned for the help picking pieces to submit to the writing contest earlier this year and in revising those pieces and other work. In particular, thank you, Libby, Nate, and Hannah for your revision help.

I am grateful for fellowship. God, through the unexpected invitation of a friend, brought me into a group of new friends. I experienced again what I had felt with the “fam” and “the Daybreakers group” and Church of the Servant when I was at college, the sense of coming to a new place and finding that it is home. (“My home is not a place; my home is people.”) Thank you, Miranda, for your invitation, and the rest of you—you know who you are, and I’ll tag some of you in this on Facebook—for welcoming me. I am grateful for how this group has led me out of the dark fog of error into the light of truth. I am also grateful that I now have the chance to write and receive letters. Thank you, Hannah and Jake, for volunteering. (And I still have yet to begin one first letter–soon! soon!) I am grateful for the new acquaintances, whom I hope are or will become friends, that I have made through the Internet, through common interests and in one case common friends. I am grateful for those who have spoken with me, in person or electronically.

I am grateful for the glory that God sets around me, in his creation and in the faces of people, those I see each week and those I see nowadays only in pictures.

“Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who gives us bread from the earth, and who gives us the fruit of the vine. Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has kept us in life, sustained us, and brought us to this moment.”

What are you thankful for?

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