This year our family will celebrate Thanksgiving Day twice. Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada: We spent the morning worshipping and the afternoon enjoying dinner together with friends. Next month we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving Day in the United States on the fourth Thursday of November.
That we get to celebrate Thanksgiving Day twice this year connects with how I have two specific things I’m currently thankful for, things that may seem contradictory at first.
If you haven’t heard the news yet, we finally received our immigration papers! Finally we can move to Iowa to begin our life and work with the people of Trinity Christian Reformed Church and the community of Rock Valley. You perhaps heard the hooting and hollering for joy from our house when we heard the news last week! (We thought we’d be there by August.) I am very thankful that we can move at last.
Yet part of me is thankful for the delay. It gave us the gift of extra time with family – the four of us, as well as our parents and some of our siblings. And we were able to connect with friends in the Bulkley Valley once (or twice or thrice) more. But I think it gave me another gift, too: The opportunity to learn a bit more to trust God when things don’t go my way. …And to learn that He is indeed trustworthy and that His timing is best. In addition, I learned that asking “Why, Lord, are things not going as we hoped?” is okay. But it’s also good (necessary, even) to ask, “What, Lord, would you have us do while things are not going as we hoped?” Instead of complaining (not that there wasn’t any of that!), I was given more occasions to be a blessing (and hopefully not an annoyance!) in the Bulkley Valley. There are always opportunities to choose to love and serve God and others regardless of circumstances.
One other thing comes to mind about Thanksgiving Day(s):
I sometimes wonder whether we get too excited about Thanksgiving Day. It’s not that we shouldn’t stop to be thankful; it’s just that giving thanks ought to be a daily part of anyone’s life who has been touched by the grace of Jesus. This morning I was reminded by Neil & Virginia Lettinga, interim transitional pastors at Telkwa Christian Reformed Church, that “thanksgiving is our dialect” all year long. On the other hand, perhaps our “concentrated” times of thanksgiving every fall is what propels us to make thankful living more of a daily habit. We need the intentional reminder that we have much to be thankful for. …At least I need the reminder, and more than one, so after today I’m also looking forward to November 22 in Iowa!