Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving has been one of those holidays that we have celebrated sometimes while living overseas and at other times not.

For the last few years, we have tried to celebrate it in one way or another. Usually we have had chicken or ham, as turkeys can be hard to come by. This year will be different. A few weeks ago, one of our missionaries acquired some turkeys and has been feeding them in preparation for the holidays. One is ready this week. He’ll be on the table Saturday.

We call him Tom. He's free range, organic, fresh, and all that other stuff.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Being Thankful

A culture of entitlement makes it difficult to be thankful. I take what I have for granted, I believe that much of what I have I deserve or that it is my “right” to receive the things I have. Marketing gurus tell me that “I deserve a break,” because I have obviously been doing something difficult.

I was reminded the other day in a conversation about the uniqueness of our times. At no other time in history have as many people lived as comfortably and generally well off as the present. For most of history, the average person has lived much like the average person lives here in Malawi. Much of life is focused on survival. Obtaining and preparing food is a major feature of the day as well as acquiring water. Education, having more than two or three sets of clothes and durable shelter are considered luxuries.

I think that much of what we take for granted as “normal” is really not normal for much of the world, nor has it been normal in history. I think that our lack of exposure to the realities of the world or lack of reflection on these realities lull us into a false sense of normalcy. We don’t tend to be thankful for things we consider normal.

I don’t thank God for the glass of clean water I am drinking because I can access it from the convenience of my tap any time I want. I don’t thank God for my basic education because everyone I know has had the same opportunity. I am no longer thankful for my clothes because my closets are full to the point of needing to regularly sort and dispose of articles no longer being worn. My car is not a blessing because it consumes too much fuel and needs regular maintenance.

We need to practice the art of being thankful. As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, why not take some time to deeply reflect on God’s goodness. Step back from your situation enough to get perspective on the many ways you have been blessed.

Thankful for family and opportunities to serve and a couple of hundred other things,