A Grateful Heart
Yes, it’s the time in America we gather with family.
Ponder the year. Thank Father for blessings. Lift hearts to the Sovereign himself. His incredible handiwork. The universe. Its incredible, awesome, and intricate working. The earth still turning. Daylight, sunrise.
Actually incredible—His profound mercies toward our human family—yes, all of us!
I pondered this year.
Grace and mercy. Unfathomable, unrelenting faithfulness, yes, from Father! Because unfathomable, too challenging to completely grasp.
When thinking of the blessing of our very existence, I observed several years as a missionary in West Africa the emphasis and deep meaning my African brothers and sisters placed on gratefulness for life. Especially at New Years and even at some other mile marker times in their lives, they give God great thanks for life. In some countries, life expectancy is much lower than what we know in the West. Life can be so volatile. Thus, one can sense the depth of gratitude for the gift of life itself.
In addition to a faithful Father, the incredible universe, the breath of life, there is much more for which to express heartfelt gratefulness.
Even for believers who feel exiled in their own country, as myriads now challenge our Father’s creation design for life, for marriage, for His spiritual authority over the human family . . .
Still may we express gratefulness for . . .
- The holy Scriptures (message, beauty, and power)
- The heritage of Judeo-Christian values
- Wisdom sourced in the true fear of God
- True humility out of numerous great-souled believers
- Holiness—the Father’s into which He calls all of us
- Truth (our Father as its source)
- The incredible understanding of the Holy One – He understands all
- Loving, true-souled family members
- “Our daily bread”
- “The land” as a gift from the Creator
- Sincere, clear countenanced, radiant followers of Christ
- Authentic believers whose prayers rise unhindered
- Steeples pointing to the Sovereign
- Integrity in all places where it truly advances
- Charitable discourse founded in the values of the Almighty
- Kindness, meekness, charity, including when truth must be defended
- Leaders with respect for the Sovereign
- Pulpits with pastors who truly proclaim the Word of God
- Christlikeness—lived out into all of life
- Family altars
- The grace of the Holy One, Ancient of Days
- The challenge to wrong, evil, sin.
Yes, in the midst of challenging days, for those seeking to be authentic Christ followers, there’s much for which to give thanks.
We thank God even for some measure of moral conscience as expressed in the US on recent issues regarding respect for members of the opposite sex. That is set now in a complex milieu of a tremendous shift in the moral and spiritual landscape of the country.
But for every measure of awareness, of awakening—even at times arising from what seem to be ulterior motives—for every measure, we give thanks.
The faithful Agent of the holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit himself, is at work in our world!
At last, “the wrong shall fail, the right prevail!” 
To Him give thanks!
Come, ye thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest home;
all is safely gathered in,
ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide
for our wants to be supplied;
come to God’s own temple, come,
raise the song of harvest home.
All the world is God’s own field,
fruit as praise to God we yield;
wheat and tares together sown
are to joy or sorrow grown;
first the blade and then the ear,
then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we
wholesome grain and pure may be.
For the Lord our God shall come,
and shall take the harvest home;
from the field shall in that day
all offenses purge away,
giving angels charge at last
in the fire the tares to cast;
but the fruitful ears to store
in the garner evermore.
Even so, Lord, quickly come,
bring thy final harvest home;
gather thou thy people in,
free from sorrow, free from sin,
there, forever purified,
in thy presence to abide;
come, with all thine angels, come,
raise the glorious harvest home.
~ Henry Alford
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 See T. Scott Daniels, Embracing Exile: Living Faithfully as God’s Unique People in the World (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2017); Lisa Cherry, Like a Flood: Live Boldly, Love Truthfully, Stand Fearlessly in a Post-Christian America (Sapulpa, OK: HonorNet, 2016), Ch. 4.
 From “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.