To My Readers on Thanksgiving 2014
First of all, let me wish all of my readers a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope that your day is one long string of happy moments.
Now, let me note that the remainder of this Thanksgiving post centers on living life via my faith in Jesus Christ. I realize that some may not wish to continue reading, so I offer this pause for you to decide whether you wish to proceed, complete with four minutes of high-quality elevator music:
This year, I am thankful for three lessons learned (and relearned, as the case may be):
First, I am thankful that Christ continues to cultivate in me an attitude of thanksgiving. One bible story that has made an impression on me is the situation in which Jesus fed the five thousand (five thousand men, plus women and children). When He asked what was available to feed the masses, all that His disciples could produce was one kid’s lunch– a few fish and loaves of bread– a clearly inadequate supply for thousands. But what was the first action Jesus took upon receiving the food? He gave God the Father thanks. He did not complain about what seemed inadequate on the surface. Instead, He turned to God in faith, glad for what was available in the moment.
If I stopped at considering how little I am actually able to contribute (in the grand scheme) toward the effort to fight the privatization of public education– to combat the exploitation– to try to right the utter wrongness of test-driven “reform”– I would become bitter from despair. But from my faith in Christ, I know to approach life with an attitude of thankfulness regardless of how inadequate my contribution appears to me on the surface. I offer my contribution, and I give thanks to God for how he will use it, which brings me to a second point of thanks:
I am thankful that I am not responsible to “make” my contribution in defense of public education “work.” I write; I publish, I speak, and I leave all outcomes in God’s hands. I do what I am able, and sometimes, I get to know how my advocacy helps others, but mostly, I do not. And that is okay with me. I must let it go; otherwise, I again run the risk of being bitter– and of becoming neurotic.
A final point of thanks for me is in the assurance I have that Christ will take me through the events of my life. He does not promise me that my life will be without trouble– indeed, He “promises” the opposite: “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” So, when I find myself in a tough spot, I have developed the habit, first, of giving thanks that He knows the end from the beginning, and second, of asking Him what I need to do next. And all of those “nexts” build into a “going through.” This is how I have learned to approach my life, and it makes for the smoothest journey no matter the particular circumstance. (I had a significant time of putting this lesson into practice in the spring of 2013 when I faced having a ten-pound tumor in my abdomen– the focus of last year’s Thanksgiving post.)
So, for these three healthy means of creating and preserving deep-seated joy in my life, I am thankful to God on this Thanksgiving.
Thank you for reading.