Belated Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving holiday was both busy and blessed. Part of our family arrived for the holiday from about 2000 miles away, which made our time together even more special. Now we are well into Advent, with Christmas looming ahead on the calendar. Even though it is over two weeks past Thanksgiving, I would like to pause and note some obvious and perhaps less obvious things for which we give thanks:

Family and friends: we have family scattered across at least six or seven states, with friends spread even further, even including friends in other countries. Family by blood relation and by marriage; they are all special. Friends from high school, college, work, neighborhoods, and church; they are all special, too. Every one of them is a blessing.

Immediate family: we are blessed with three children by birth, three more by marriage, and six (soon to be seven) living grandchildren. They add spice to our life, and don’t leave much room for a dull moment. As the Psalmist said, children are a heritage from the Lord. We give thanks for these riches.

Music: this may peg me as older than dirt (don’t believe it!), but I grew up listening to music on an AM radio or played on LP records, complete with static, hiss, pops, and crackles. I still remember my first time hearing a good recording of emotive classical music; it came from a record on a turntable that fed my first-ever high-quality stereo amplifier. Today we have high-quality music of any variety we care to hear, easily available by streaming online, from our own digital libraries, or sometimes even in live concerts. And we even have digital recordings of some of our old LP albums, complete with the hiss, pops, and crackles. Brings back memories…

Good English translations of the Bible: I don’t read or speak Hebrew or Aramaic, and the only Greek I know comes from equations in math and science. Therefore, I truly appreciate the ready availability of good English translations of the Bible for reading and for study. The New American Standard Bible, English Standard Version (used in The Lutheran Study Bible), and the 1984 New International Version are three of my favorites.

Photography: my first camera was a little Kodak box camera that used clumsy rolls of film. We had shoeboxes of old black-and-white family photos, many of which seem to have been lost or damaged over the years. With time I graduated to a good SLR Pentax, then a Nikon, and eventually a series of digital cameras. But as with music, technology is not the main point. What we cherish is memories, the beauty of God’s creation (God makes the best colors), and the ease of sharing these things with each other via photography.

Other things come to mind: I am thankful for our God-given freedoms, for opportunities to travel, for the beauty of God’s creation, and for knowing the God to whom we give thanks. Giving thanks resets our perspective on life, and I am grateful for the reset!

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