Thanksgiving comes just twice each fall (today is US Thanksgiving), but there are thousands of reasons to be thankful. Charles Wesley wrote: “O for a thousand tongues to sing,” and a Canadian author beautifully articulated One Thousand Gifts. We are exhorted to “give thanks in all things” (I Thes 5:18), but that isn’t always easy. My (Linda) mother loved a hymn that included:
Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered, Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered, Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Six years ago, Thanksgiving followed cancer for Rick (and I). With gritted teeth I gave thanks for collared hospital chaplains, meals, visits, and rhubarb (that’s another blog post). I was thankful for our children, and for the prayers of many (James 5). I was thankful for Tim Horton’s in the Ottawa Cancer Centre. My journal recorded:
It’s grateful here. On February 4th, Rick was diagnosed with cancer. Seven months later to the day, September 4th, he led communion at the Met. We’re grateful to be alive, to work, and so incredibly grateful to each friend who encouraged us.
It’s changed here. Someone once said, “It’s doubtful anyone ever changes without pain.” The Bible says: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, it produces a harvest of righteousness . . . for those trained by it” (Heb 12:11). A friend wrote: “This experience has left you a different person.”
Thanksgiving Day, October 7, 2012, Rick resigned from a church we loved to come to Heritage. We’re thankful for our new home, new friends, 2000+ days of cancer freedom, innumerable completed assignments and the anticipated joy of graduation from Southern Seminary (December 8th). We’re also thankful for sharpened minds, wisdom in money matters, preparing pastors, and reaching internationals.
A thousand thanks for all who participated in the 1000 x 1000 campaign, for student vitality, for life lessons (yes, even mistakes) which brought personal reflection. For my incredible husband, for his daily breath for 10,000 days. For Sola gratia and your cross payment for my sin, Lord, eucharisteo. For all of you, a 1000 thanks.
Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010).