Thanksgiving has long been my favourite holiday. So as I sit in the living room of our house in Liverpool doing things that one doesn’t generally associate with the day (like studying and alternating between tea and coffee to stay awake while reading), there cannot help but be a slight air of melancholy around me. We’ve missed this day before, like when we lived further south in England a few years ago, but it has always been special to me because it was the antithesis of what passes for the Christmas season in western culture.
It was a breath and pause before the impending onslaught of empty consumerism. It’s a day spent in the kitchen preparing to be with family for the sake of simply being grateful.
And, as I sit here, thought we are away from so many of our friends and family, I have so much to be thankful for.
A year ago, my body was slowly being broken by the work that I was doing in a warehouse. It was an endless stream of making up and packing boxes to send off the laboratories, hospitals and universities. Now, I have the privilege of reading through the Word with people and praying for the members of our new church family. Learning the rhythms and movings of the city in which we live from the people who live around us is actually a part of the work that I am doing now.
I have my family, this crazy, constantly running around screaming, laughing, tickling, crying, arguing, reconciling, mishmash of people living in close quarters all the time. I have the privilege of shepherding and raising them.
We have a team of ministry partners that has made all of this possible. We are able to actual do this work in an area that a lot people wouldn’t want to go to or wouldn’t think to go to. It is slow work, but we’ve been blessed with partners that understand what it takes to build trust in an area where trust is hard to come by.
We have God’s provision and protection. One day very soon after arriving, we were walking home from the bus stop after spending the day downtown. We came to a pedestrian crossing and had the green light to go. We were halfway across the road when a van rear-ended the car that was stopped at the light, causing it to jump forward and miss hitting us by about 2 feet. Had that car not been there, we would have been hit by a driver that wasn’t paying attention to the road. The work that we were meant to do would have gone undone. But we were protected and everyone made it home safe after that.
We have the message we are here to preach. If we didn’t have everything that I wrote above, we would still have reason for gratitude beyond words because we have the knowledge and experience of the gospel. That singular fact which causes all things to pale in comparison, that while we were sinners, Christ died for us.
There is never a point where we have the opportunity for grumbling or complaining because, if we have Christ, we have absolutely everything that we need.