I've never particularly liked Thanksgiving. A holiday centered around food - especially food I don't like - just never particularly appealed to me. For me, Thanksgiving has meant family making uncomfortable comments about my eating habits, gathering around a big screen watching football, and being bored as everyone cheered.
But, the idea that there is a holiday that is, supposedly, centered around giving thanks for those blessings in our lives...now that's appealing. Every so often I try to sit down and count my blessings - meaning writing them out so that I get a visual of what they are (I'm a visual learner, what can I say?).
So, without further ado, here is my list of 10 things I am thankful for in my life:
1. To have the love of a God who challenges, stresses and pushes me to love other people as He loves me.
2. Having parents who were dedicated to showing me that love from the time I was born.
3. My dear friends. Listing names would be far too much, but I will say this: My friend Katy once told me that she noticed that when I get a friend, I treat them like gold. I never noticed it until she pointed it out, but I do want to reiterate the sentiment: You, dear reader, as my friend, are golden to me.
4. My education - I have been blessed to be taught by some great minds, and my schooling has opened a lot of doors for me, for which I am incredibly grateful. (Let's hope I can maintain this attitude when I'm writing checks for student loan payments this time next year).
5. Technology. While in some respects it has provided means to isolate people from each other, it's also provided the means for people to come together. For one, I wouldn't have gone to Oxford were it not for finding the website, and for two, I wouldn't be going to India were it not for stumbling across the trip on Faceless.
6. The generosity of those around me. The little fundraising thermometer in the sidebar there demonstrates how awesome the people who know me (and even those who don't know me!) are. I couldn't be going on this trip without you.
7. Art/Music/Literature. I hate to lump all these together, but really, I'd be saying the same thing about all of them. I believe that God chooses to speak through all means of art, in loud and soft voices, just as he speaks through the beauty of his creation. There is some kernel of truth in most arts, and I am thankful for that.
8. Forgiveness. I make a lot of really stupid mistakes, every day. And if it wasn't for my assurance in the forgiveness of a God who loves me, and a Christ who died for me, and a Spirit which intercedes for me, I would have no hope.
9. Humor. I believe God laughs at us a lot, and I like to think we can laugh right along with him.
10. And last, I'm thankful that, in a world that often seems mired in despair and hurt, we can still look up and have some hope that the God loves us, and that loving our neighbor is a means of showing that love. We are not without hope, as long as we have faith. And I am grateful for that hope.
So there you have it. A nice cathartic exercise that reminds me of how much I have to be thankful for.
What are you thankful for? Leave me a comment and tell me one thing (it doesn't have to be 10!). You may find yourself with a longer list than you thought!