It’s Thanksgiving weekend in my part of the world. I know I have so much to be thankful for. This has been a big year.
Last night, Peter and I went out for dinner with friends to celebrate his 30th birthday. I’m unspeakably thankful for this guy and that we get to share life together and grow old together. I’m thankful for friends and the extra money to go out to eat. I’m thankful for grandparents who babysit and a baby who sleeps through.
I’m thankful for our church – our community here on the Coast and in other places. The friends we have here and the friends who are now scattered around the world.
I’m thankful for the Thanksgiving dinner that we’ll have tonight and that I have no doubt will be delicious. I’m thankful for my family who are coming to visit tomorrow.
I have so much to be thankful for.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Give thanks in all circumstances. The things I’ve mentioned are easy to be thankful for because they are such good things. It’s easy to be thankful for my marriage, my home, my friends. It’s easy to be thankful for my daughter and her life. It’s hard to be thankful for the fearful time that preceded her birth. It’s hard to be thankful for what came before – for miscarriage and loss and difficult diagnoses.
But God’s will in my life is for me to rejoice, to give thanks. To pray without ceasing. Which, really, is the key to all of this. I don’t know how to be thankful for any of these things – good or bad – without filtering that thanks through Jesus. When I think of the great love my God has for me, my thanks seems weak.
So I could focus on the hard stuff, the stuff I don’t understand, the times and memories that will always be twinged with pain. But, with God’s help, I can look at my life with new eyes. At a recent medical exam, the tech commented on a congenital issue that I have and asked me if it was hard for me to get pregnant. “Not really,” I said, without going into a lot of detail.
“Well, you have the most pronounced version I’ve ever seen,” she told me. I have no idea how many women she’s seen with my particular style of misshapen uterus but it struck me once more how much I have to be grateful for. How delicate the balance of life is. The goodness of God in my life that I am so far from worthy of but that has shown up again and again, in the light and in the dark. In ways that, I think, I’m not even yet aware of. There are things God is teaching me; I am still learning. I am learning to give thanks in all circumstances. I have so much to be thankful for.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.