No, I am not confused on the date, I know it is almost Christmas and I am writing about Thanksgiving? It is just that Christmas is the holiday season when I really am thankful for so many things.
We need to acknowledge that all we have is a gift from our Heavenly Father. And this is the time of year that we celebrate the best gift of all, the gift of his Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross because of my and your sins.
So here is a partial list of things I am thankful for, and I know you will be puzzled by some of them, read on:
My rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, bad back, cold snowy weather, being married to my best friend, two beautiful and loving daughters (we already opened our gifts so I an not buttering them up), our church has a pastoral vacancy, growing up and living in Lexington, Nebraska, my job and hobby are the same thing and so on.
Let me explain a few of these. I know that being thankful for rheumatoid arthritis is very strange, but I can't change the fact that I have had it for 26 years. I understand why senior citizens move the way they do, I can empathize with them for the aches and pains. Do I wish it would away? You bet, but God set it in my path for a reason. I might as well look on the bright side.
Much the same for the bad back and allergies that I have been plagued with for most of my life. For all three of these maladies I am thankful to be living in this day and age with modern medicines.
The cold snowy weather? Without the winter in Nebraska, how would we enjoy the spring, summer and fall in God's country?
Wife and daughters should be easily understood, especially if you know them.
I have some friends and family that don't understand why I enjoy living in Lexington. For those who don't live around here, Lexington underwent a major change around 22 years ago. IBP, a major beef processor, bought a closed manufacturing building and converted it into a beef processing plant. Tyson bought out IBP and now employs somewhere around 5,000 workers, most of them fairly new immigrants to this country. After a few years at the plant many workers move onto other jobs, but they stay in Lexington.
Lexington is now about 75% Hispanic, 5% African, and 20% Anglo. This has obviously changed much in town, from schools to churches to doctors and hospitals. The short answer is growth is better than death, which many small towns are facing. Our daughters have some amazing friends of many cultural backgrounds.
This is still a rural town as well. If there is a crisis in the area, people jump in and help however they can. Need a new library, pool, auditorium, gymnasium, etc. no problem. We'll just raise the money mostly from donations and build it.
Vacancy at church? I do miss our last pastor whom retired this summer. We do have a wonderful vacancy pastor. But people have been stepping up to help, with little prodding.
I am lucky to be able live and farm the ground that my great-grandfather homesteaded on and/or purchased soon after immigrating from England in 1872. It is a great feeling growing food for people around the world as well as here at home. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and remember that I didn't do this all by myself. I am building on what my grandfather and father started. I have a great employee and a family that helps however they can. And of course God is in control.
So in this Christmas season be thankful for all you have, even if it is unpleasant.