I would say that all good things must come to end, but as a follower of Jesus, I simply do not believe that to be true.
Quite the contrary, actually. I hold hope in my heart, instead, that every glimpse of light and grace in this crazy world is a shadow of something that will be fully restored one day. This earth will one day be our heaven. Creation will stop its groaning. And every bit of evil, every nasty thing that tries our souls, will one day give way to a gracious ruler and King.
Even now, glimpses of heaven breaking through on earth happen daily. We pray "Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." And then we leave our homes and, through the power of Jesus in us, we build the Kingdom now, right here, wherever we are planted. We are bearers of light, reflections of hope. This is my surest reason for gratitude: this is where God is present in all of this. The broken relationships, tattered dreams, losses and monotony. There is a Redeemer, and even now he is in the process of renewing all things. The old can be made new; the Resurrection of a Jewish carpenter-God-man showed us it is true.
And now, to practice the discipline of the giving of thanks:
- First Thanksgivings. This year, a few of our new friends from Brazil, students at a local university, joined us for their first Thanksgiving. They were introduced to pumpkin for the first time, they pulled up chairs at the family table, they found home while they are experiencing homesickness. And whatever blessing they received by joining in with the Burden clan, we received back in being a part of their first U.S. Thanksgiving. David and I are blessed over and over again each time we meet up, laughing about the absurdities of the English language. This is part of the family God makes, and we are grateful.
- Thankful friends. Your comments on this series have cheered my heart and renewed my hope that together sharing our gratitude makes a tremendous difference. Here is just a sampling:
It doesn't get easier to wait as we naturally hope for quick and easy answers; but it helps to know God is totally involved in the waiting and has a plan that encompasses the inevitable, complex realities. -Laurna
Inspired by what many celebrate on Nov. 1, I am thankful for the great number of "saints", those canonized and those unknown to anyone today, those powerful and those humble, who have preceded us in serving God's mission in the world. -Scott
Grateful that God redeems what we believe to be lost, gifts us with what we do not deserve, and graciously right-sizes us time and time again. -Heather
I am so grateful for my family. I love them so much more than words could ever describe. I am also grateful that through all of my life's choices, God has always been there waiting patiently for me. -Connie
Thankful for: my husband's health ( he just had an appendectomy), cooler weather, the ocean breeze, a quiet morning with my bible, podcasts by wise Christian women, a bursting avocado tree, spilled milk, women in my writing community like YOU, Thomas the Train, friendly neighbors who have embraced us with open arms. I could go on and on and on. There is so much to be thankful for! -Lesley
I'm grateful for the fact that second chances are always before us, wide-open doors we can walk through with just a tiny bit of intention. What a grace in this world of grief! -Heather
I'm grateful for Edith...a high school Sunday school teacher who taught me that the face of joy sometimes wears black lace-up shoes. I'm grateful for a God whose love does not expect our perfection but instead has covered every sin, every shortcoming, every failing with his sufficiency on our behalf, and brings good things out of even the most devastating losses of this world. -Shelly
Your final chance: for what are you most grateful for on this day?