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FIRST-PERSON: Still thankful

BRISTOL, Tenn. (BP) — On Thanksgiving Day, as well as the days pre- and post-holiday, I reflected on “what I am thankful for” lists. A three-point outline came to mind. Each of the categories encompassed so much potential for meditation that it was difficult to elaborate on them as we sat around the table on Thanksgiving Day, listing things for which we were thankful.”

Actually, the categories are quite simple: What I am most thankful for are The Creator; His Creatures; and all of His Creation.

That just about covers it! Allow me to elaborate.

The Creator

God is great. God is good. He is worthy of our praise, and I am so thankful for Him — thankful that He created the universe; thankful that He has chosen to reveal Himself to us on a personal level; thankful that, though His thoughts and ways are above our thoughts and ways, He has expressed His love for us.

Although we cannot wrap our minds around the concept of a Creator who cares for His creatures, we can accept His love and grace and “live in it.”

His Creatures

God created us to share His love with our each other. As creatures, both human and otherwise, we have a need for each other. We are dependent upon God and upon one another — hence the thankfulness for “His Creatures.”

My wife is my greatest human blessing, followed by the result of our love: four children and seven precious grandchildren. We are so blessed to have each other.

But other people — friends and extended family — also are a treasure. Although I don’t do much social media, I am a highly social creature. My wife and I love to travel and we make friends wherever we go. Not only did I have special friends growing up, over time I have had the opportunity to meet people across the United States as well as corners of the world like India, the Bahamas, Italy, England and other faraway places. My wife and I consider former strangers in Ohio, Williamsburg, the Outer Banks and all over to be our friends. Most of them couldn’t call our names, at least not without a head scratch or two, but they have still been a blessing to our lives. When I say I have hundreds of friends, I don’t mean “Facebook” friends, I mean “face to face friends.”

I’m also thankful for creatures that are almost human like my mischievous boxer, my “granddogs” and other pets that have provided pleasure and companionship throughout the years.

And horses. Recently I was chatting — face to face, not online — with an Amish friend. He and his family have chosen a simple lifestyle with only the bare essentials and few of the conveniences most of us are thankful for. They have no electricity or many of the things we consider basic necessities. Their transportation is provided by real horse power.

I wished him a happy Thanksgiving and added, “We have so much to be thankful for every day.”

“Yes!” he responded humbly, indicating his nine children, “So much to be thankful for. I only wish I knew how to express my thankfulness in a better way.”

His Creation

Creation includes the oceans and beaches, the mountains and valleys, the heavens that declare God’s great glory, hills and plains, rocks and rills, the changing seasons, the beautiful skies — all of it. What a beautiful world we live in!

The hymnodist and poet Cecil Frances Alexander penned these words over a century and a half ago: “All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful, The Lord God made them all.”

Thousands of years ago the writers of Psalms sang repeatedly, “O Give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good …”

God is good. Every day give thanks. We have so much to be thankful for and so little time to thank the Creator for everyone and everything.

    About the Author

  • Steve Playl

    Steve Playl, a retired Baptist pastor, is a chaplain at a Bristol, Tenn., hospital, a newspaper columnist and college instructor.

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