Well, I missed it last year (because of some circumstance that a few of you are now aware of). But it's a funny thing: now, two years since the last time I said I was thankful, I feel more thankful than ever before... and thankful for things that maybe I didn't appreciate as fully as I should have been.
Thanksgiving remains a uniquely American holiday. No other place in the world, so far as I know, has a holiday devoted to reflection upon the blessings in our lives. Yes, I know: our Jewish brethren and many other religious groups do have festivals of thanks to God. But Thanksgiving enjoys the curious place of being perhaps the one holiday with anything like a spiritual basis that is endorsed by an understandably secular government. That doesn't mean that I think Thanksgiving is a strictly "Christian" affair.. but you've gotta admit: we would all be the better for it if we spent more time thankful for what we do have, and not lamenting that which we don't.
So without further ado, here is what I am thankful for as we wind down 2009...
I am thankful, more than I can possibly express, for the very many wonderful friends that I have been blessed with throughout my life.
I am thankful that for those friendships which may have fallen by the wayside, that there is hope for the reconciliation that I fervently pray for each day.
I am thankful for my Mom and Dad, who have always been there for me... even when I have been at my lowest.
I am thankful for my sister, who is far more an inspiration than she will ever know.
I am thankful for all of my family, now spread out throughout the world...
...and thanks to Facebook we are keeping in touch with each other more than ever before!
I am thankful for the very many opportunities that God has opened up for me in recent months, and I look forward to seeing where they might take me.
I am thankful to be an alumnus of Elon University, not only because I love the school but because the Phoenix have become the team to watch in football and basketball.
I am thankful for the Theatre Guild of Rockingham County and everything - and everyone - that comes with being involved with it!
I am thankful for this blog, which in however small a way I want to believe might be an encouragement for anyone who might find their way here to take a stand and contribute their own unique voice and perspective to the world.
I am thankful for discovering the joy of Warhammer 40,000 and Monsterpocalypse this past year, and the numerous friendships that have come about from meeting to play those games.
I am thankful for YouTube, which is always there to show me how to tie a necktie whenever I need the instruction.
I am thankful to live in the country, where I can take my telescope out on any clear dark night and use it as I please without getting honked-off at light pollution.
I am thankful for getting to see my life-long best friend Chad Austin get married this past summer.
I am thankful that I get to be creative and productive, and can now get away with it after some previous stunts finally garnered me some hard-earned street cred (especially among my family ;-).
I am thankful for Fallout 3, which has to date consumed 130 hours of my life (and still counting...).
I am thankful that I am getting to learn more of the fine art of knifemaking from Dad.
But, most of all...
...I am thankful that I serve an awesome God, Who has been faithful to me even when I have not been as faithful to Him. I am thankful that His grace is sufficient to cover the unbelievable amount of shortcomings that are in my life. I am thankful that even though I do fall and make many mistakes, that He is ever there to pick me up, dust me off, and be beside me closer than a friend as I continue on the difficult, strange and at times all-out wacky journey that is life.
If am am thankful for nothing else, then I am thankful that I have Christ in my life. And I am thankful for being able to see, thirteen years later, that He is a presence in my life... and one that I want to grow all the more, for as long as I am in this world.