Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thinking on Thanksgiving

Hello again,

It’s about 7:45 AM on Thanksgiving Day. When I hear myself say that it sounds funny to me. Next week we are going to have Joy Day and the week after that we will have Kindness Day, and we are planning for Long-suffering Day sometime in February. Hmm… might not be a bad idea.

Of course, I’m being facetious. I know the history behind Thanksgiving and love the traditional celebration with all the trimmings. Our tribe is gathering today across the river at Jonathan and Sharon’s house in Vancouver, and we are going to have a wonderful time. But I was just thinking… for us Christians, shouldn’t every day be thanksgiving day? Gratefulness to God should permeate every day. But we get so busy with our frenetic lifestyles we forget to stop and express our thanks, both to God and to other people.

I’m as guilty as the next guy. I stumble through life like poor Martha in Luke 10, “distracted by all the preparations that had to be made… worried and upset about many things.” I’m embarrassed to admit it but that’s me, most of the time. Then all of a sudden something happens that reminds me of how much I have to be thankful for; thankful to God for all His grace and bounty and blessings, including the wonderful people in my life.

I am getting so tired of saying goodbye to friends. Yesterday we buried a dear man of God who lost his battle with cancer. Pastor David Yoon was only 47 years old. He left behind a sweet wife, Esther, and two fine sons, both still in their teens. But as I sat in that service I gave thanks to God for David’s life and for his example of dedication and love for God. He will be sorely missed.

But I am also grateful today that death is not the end. The God I serve is greater than death. In Isaiah 25:8 my Bible reminds me that the day is coming when “He will swallow up death for all time, and the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces.” This promise is repeated at the end of the Book, in Revelation 21:4, “And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain: the first things have passed away. And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’”

Today, on this Thanksgiving Day, my friend David is seeing Jesus face to face. He is walking among angels, strolling through Heaven in wide-eyed wonder, seeing with his almond-shaped Korean eyes all that God has prepared for those who love Him. David was a man who was always quick to say, “tank you.” That’s not a misprint. Like most Koreans, he couldn’t pronounce our “th” sound. I can imagine him walking around Heaven, bowing and shaking hands with people and saying, “Tank you, tank you so much.” David, being Korean, didn’t know much about Pilgrims and turkey dinners with cranberry sauce, but for him this really is Thanksgiving Day, probably Thanksgiving Week, maybe even Thanksgiving Year.

I think I’m a little jealous of him right now. Oh well, one day soon we too will get to see what he is seeing and be reunited with our loved ones, nevermore to be separated.

In the meantime, we must stiffen our spine, breathe through our nose, and soldier on. There is turkey to be eaten, pie to be devoured, naps to be taken, and football to be watched. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you dear people. I love you, and am truly grateful to God, and to you, for the many ways that you have enriched my life.

Thankful, but still crazy,

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