Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks

Every class period of mine begins with five minutes for a "warm-up" question or prompt to help establish a routine, transition students' focus from the hallway chatter to the lesson, and either to review yesterday's main point or to set up the day's lesson. But yesterday I asked everyone to write down a few things they were grateful for. But if I was sitting in that desk, here's what I'd have written:

I'm thankful for . . .

. . . probably very little, actually. The Holy Spirit urges that we are to be thankful for everything and in every circumstance (Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 2:7; 3:15-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). I usually complain or, perhaps more usually, take things for granted instead of acknowledging that I owe my very existence to God. All I am and possess I have received from him. "What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?" (1 Corithians 4:7).

. . . forgiveness of my every trespass, justification, and full-bodied righteousness as free gifts; entrance into the kingdom of God; the guarantee of the Holy Spirit; the sure intheritance of life everlasting in the dwelling place of God.

. . . one year with my wonderful girlfriend Olivia. We can have fun together, whether it's a water fight, playing catch, or looking at paintings. We can pray together--and she is sure teaching me to pray God's Word back to him. We're slowly learning to listen to one another and to communicate. We can encourage each other and "speak the truth in love." We can even do nothing together! Plus she's "pretty darn attractive," I might add.

. . . not going crazy upon moving from Virginia to the Prairie State.

. . . a job where I'm able to be challenged as an educator without being placed under extreme duress or in a hazardous situation.

. . . health insurance and a steady paycheck.

. . . the Spinas' extended hospitality.

. . . another autumn, even if not as beautiful as earlier ones.

. . . a new apartment that is big enough--and for furniture from some generous donors!

. . . parents who are still married and who listen to me (and for one other "parent" who also listens and counsels me).

. . . grilled cheese sandwiches and Campbell's cream of tomato soup.

. . . flavorful beers.

. . . the pale winter light and skeletal, barren trees. The dim lavenders, umbers, ashes, and straws brushed across the horizontal landscape are increasingly beautiful to behold.

. . . friendships both new and old.

. . . the fact that I not only own one Bible, but in fact several.

. . . my ability to read and think, to understand directions, and to dissect written material. I'm learning from my students never to take any simple task for granted.

Oh, and lest we forget, we owe this entire Thanksgiving holiday to a boatfull of crazy Calvinists who made their way across the vast Atlantic to pursue true worship of God. Oops, did I say that?


Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

were the pilgrims really calvinists? I didn't know that!

As to the rest - well said my friend!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Amen, Andrew. Amen.

Nice to read. I did something of a similar post today.

Yes, I guess the Pilgrims from what I read were of the separatists Puritans who refused to be affiliated with the Church of England. Their story is a good one.

Blessings on you and Olivia and Susan, and a happy blessed Thanksgiving.

Litl-Luther said...

Yes! The Pilgrims were all Calvinists as far as I know. ...Boy America has gone down hill since then. :-)

Happy Thanksgiving to all!