“For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I
have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. --Ephesians 1:15-16 (NIV)
When Thanksgiving Day was set up as a national holiday to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of
November, it was done so because there is nothing particularly noteworthy about the fourth Thursday of November. It was just another day on the calendar, and that was the idea, any day is a day to give
thanks to the Lord.
My daughter told me that she enjoys Thanksgiving more than any other holiday. No pressure to get gifts,
no fancy decorations, just great food, family and football. But what she enjoys most is the time of
reflection to look at the year gone by and see the many blessings that we have even in the midst of
sorrow and difficulties. “Even in the hard times, I can find someone or someway that God has blessed
me and my family,” she said. But I believe that we celebrate a thanksgiving every Sunday when we
gather as believers and give thanks for the greatest gift ever given in Jesus Christ and the empty tomb as
evidence of the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit.
This year was very challenging in my household. The February diagnosis of lymphoma given to Bev was
devastating. The bouts of chemo were strength draining and the loss of her hair was heartbreaking. But
in it we felt thankful. Thankful for Dr. Kim who headed her treatment. Thankful for the nursing staff of
Hillman Cancer Center in Passavant. Thankful for a church family that surrounded our family in healing
prayers. Thankful for all of you who came forward with words of encouragement, meals, and visits. And
of course, thankful for those words, “there is no evidence that the lymphoma still exist.” Praise be the
God who strengthens us through the darkest of valleys.
I know that there are many of you who are receiving this letter going through your own struggles and
challenges. Many of you have been dealing with difficult health issues. Some of you are in the struggle of
addiction, either with a loved one or within yourself. Some are faced with the challenge of fiscal
difficulties during this time of economic pressure. Some are facing family struggles that have disrupted
the peace of your home. And, yes, some are going into the holiday season with an empty chair at your
table and a heart broken with grief.
Yet, during all of our challenges and in feelings of brokenness, there is always hope in our loving Father,
our amazing Savior, and in the heart healing Holy Spirit of God. We are promised that we will never be
alone. We can come to Christ, be emptied of sin and filled with grace. We can pour out our hearts in
prayer and trust that as we rise from our knees our first step will be into his arms.
Yes, any day can be a Thanksgiving Day. Every Sunday can be a Thanksgiving celebration in church and around a family table. And on this fourth Thursday of November may it be a time of reflection on where
God has blessed you in this year’s journey with him.
Hoping you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a year filled with blessing,