My Thanksgiving list. Yours?


I’m going to take this early opportunity to share my “Thanksgiving List” with you, and I hope this encourages you to make yours with equal contemplation.

The first thing I want us all to remember is that Thanksgiving is for giving thanks, not simply the over-eating of turkey, dressing, and pumpkin pie. And the second thing is that we do not simply give thanks about things. Rather, we specifically give thanks to Someone, and that Someone is, of course, God. We never only declare thanks into a vacuum, but we declare our thanks to God for all He has given and provided us, which is everything.

Based on this, here’s my Thanksgiving List in an abbreviated form because this column and hundreds more could not hold the totality of all for which I am so profoundly grateful to God for His blessings upon my life. Here goes.

I give thanks to God for sending His Son, Jesus Christ, into our fallen sinful world to live His perfect life, die on His cross to forgive all sin, and rise again to give eternal life to all who believe in Him. By the power of His Holy Spirit I am able to claim all that for myself, and I give God my deepest gratitude for this best of all gifts to me and all believers. Amen!

I am thankful for my parents and the way they raised me, always telling me about Jesus and always keeping me connected to God, The Church, and a life of faith. I always felt their love and support of me in all my endeavors of education, sports, and whatever I was doing that was good and worthwhile. And, of course, I received their wise and loving correction when I was perhaps headed in a possible adverse direction. As many of you know, I still have my dad for whom I am able to care, and I’m thankful for that, too.

I give thanks to God for my wife, Elaine. We’ve been married for 43 years and I can tell you we’re still in love. I know it has been God’s unconditional love for each of us that we have been able to mirror to each other which has blessed us and carried us and has made our love grow.Thank you, God, for this great blessing.

I am extremely thankful for the three children God gave to us. Wow! With no offense to anyone anywhere, we have the best three kids in the world. Of course, they’re not kids anymore.  They’re wonderful young adults with solid faith, morals, knowledge, wisdom, purpose, and great contributors to society. And we have a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law who share all those qualities as well.

Here’s a biggie: I am “jump-up-and-down” thankful for our four little grandchildren, and the one on the way. These little people have jumped into our hearts, Grandma and Grandpa, and have multiplied the blessings we receive every day off the charts. Goodness! What a joy to see them grow and learn and love us back. And we’re thankful for our modern technologies which help keep us connected and close.

I’m thankful for all my experiences of education, and for the privilege I have of being a pastor for 42 years. I believe God called me into this and has guided and sustained me in His Call for all these years, and I believe He will do so also in years yet to come. I’m deeply thankful for all of that. And I’m thankful for the people I have had the privilege of serving in my three churches over those years, and specifically for the people here at Prince of Peace I have been privileged to serve for 32 years. These are great people and it has been so fulfilling to serve God alongside them. Thank You, God!

I give thanks to God for the national denomination to which my congregation and I belong, the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). This is a union of pastors and congregations that has conviction for the Eternal Truth of God proclaimed in Holy Scripture, which is as relevant today as it always was, and it always will be. Martin Luther said, “Here I stand,” as he held to God’s Truth against human error. We do the same.

Coming back closer to home, I am thankful for our community of Fayetteville, Fayette County, and our surrounding communities. We have such a great place to live because of the great people who are our neighbors and friends. Outside of friendly rivalries among high schools and some honest differences of opinion in matters of politics, we have such a united community with common values, common goals for raising and educating our children and grandchildren, and common resolve to make our little part of God’s world as safe and good for all to enjoy.

I told you I wouldn’t have enough space because I’m also thankful for our nation, all public servants, all our military personnel, our law enforcement and fire fighters, and so much more.

Thank you, God! Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Make your list.

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