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Today is the day we give thanks


I had a reporter in my office the other day from the San Antonio Express-News. She had interviewed me earlier this year concerning the events at the high school and wanted to know how the community was reacting to what has turned out to be a rough year. The hazing issue, Hurricane Harvey, and the Sutherland Springs shootings have shocked our innocence and sense of safety. We mourn those who have been lost and whose lives have been irreversibly altered.

And these events are far from over. When the hazing trials begin, victims will have to relive the abuse they received. In the shootings, children will be dealing with medical issues the rest of their lives -- as far as 60, 80, even a 100 years from now. Financial stresses will plague families as bills come due and, in some cases, income earners are just no longer there. The effects of the past year will reverberate far into the future.

Yet today is a day we pause and give thanks. Today is a day we count our blessings. Today we share God’s bounty with those people God has placed in our lives to walk the difficult road of life with us. Today we savor the fragrances of pecan pie and dinner rolls. Today we relish the taste of turkey and cranberries. Today we hear the voices of our children and the laughter of our parents. Today we are grateful for what we have.

Throughout life, God is with us. In all the ups and downs, God experiences everything we experience. He laughs our laughter, cries our tears, dances with our music, and sighs with our loneliness. He fills our eyes with colors, our lungs with the freshness of the morning air, and warms our skin with the sun.

We are about to embark into the annual celebration of when God Himself left the glory of heaven to become one of us. We are about to retell that old, old story of God’s Son born in the Manger of Bethlehem. We are about to remember the words of angels singing of Good News of Great Joy which has come to all men. Emmanuel -- God with us -- walked our journey, enmeshed Himself in the messiness of the human condition. He was the greatest Man who ever lived and ended up rejected, beaten, and crucified -- not because of our goodness but because of His boundless love for us, His beloved, misguided children.

So today, celebrate and give thanks. Hear the words of King Solomon: “Go, eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has long ago approved what you do. Let your garments always be white; do not let oil be lacking on your head. Enjoy life --” (Ecclesiastes 9:7-9).

Happy Thanksgiving.

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