Thursday, November 22, 2007


Today is my favorite national holiday: Thanksgiving. This is perhaps the best secular holiday every created. It is one Thursday at the end of November that is set aside each year to remind us to give thanks for all we have in our lives as we sit around and feast on Turkey, stuffing, potatoes and pumpkin pie. Growing up in school, we often even made cards and lists together to help celebrate the people, places and things we are thankful for. We were thankful for our families, our friends, our pets and our favorite toys. When we were feeling extra nice, we even put our teachers on there. This year, there are many things I am thankful for, and I would like to name a few.
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. As I am far from home and don’t often get to see the I am especially thankful for the opportunity to share in this holiday with my “family” here atfamily with whom I grew up, I am thankful for the great friendships that have grown in our short time together in school. I am thankful to have the kinds of friends who stick by me through thick and thin. Who love me for who I am and share with me my joys and my sorrows. Who encourage me when I’m feeling down. Who affirm and support me in my crazy ideas… like spending a summer half way around the world, and planning it in less than two months. I am thankful to have had the opportunity for such traveling adventures, and for the friends I have made from around the world. I am thankful that they take me for who I am, yet challenge me to take who I am and grow into a stronger, more compassionate and faithful leader. Indeed, my friends and colleagues leave me with much to be thankful for.
As I reflect on all the things I have to be thankful for, I am reminded of the wonderful conversation I was blessed with at my weekly Bible Study. This is a community that blesses me beyond my greatest expectations. I get to be a part of serving a hot meal restaurant-style to around 50 homeless folks each Tuesday night in Holy Covenant's sanctuary. It is a holy time of great fellowship and conversation while they eat. This week, it was especially humbling to share with them and to hear their beautiful words of thanksgiving for all they have. To have a place “where I truly feel like I am granted dignity, just like in the name” is a beautiful thing. We all need that from time to time… and this community offers it to me as much if not more than I am able to offer it to them. Fellowship throughout the meal and challenging conversation in a short hour of Bible Study afterwards offer great opportunities for all of us to share our faith and bless one another. One of our regular Dignity Diner patrons, who often even volunteers to help serve when we need it, offered a great reminder to me as I wished him a Happy early Thanksgiving. “Same to you,” he told me, “only it isn’t early. Every day should be a Thanksgiving. We should be thanking God for our life every day, no matter the occasion.” Amen! I am thankful for the many, many ways this community has blessed me!

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. And for those of you who are not in the US, I hope you are able to celebrate with us. For every day should indeed be a day of thanks-giving- and there is indeed much to be thankful for.

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