Dear Family and Friends at Trinity,

   I was in a craft store earlier this week and the first thing I saw were large wooden pumpkins, turkeys, sheaves of grain and various plaques and yard signs proclaiming “Give Thanks”. In other stores sandwiched between the Halloween cards and the Christmas cards is a section of cards in the beautiful colors of autumn,- golds, yellows, and reds and browns,- inviting the reader to “”Give Thanks”.  This is an appropriate message for this time of year. The most important holiday of the fall is in the month of November-Thanksgiving, which is on the 25th this year.

  Over and over the Psalmist reminds us to “Give Thanks to the Lord”.  In many places in Scripture we are reminded of the reasons we are to give thanks to God-for His goodness, His protection, His love, His mercy,

His creation, for sending Jesus Christ to be our Savior, for pouring out the Holy Spirit upon us, and more.  We have many many reasons for which to be thankful-an old hymn says, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”   The Psalmist is right, we need to “Give Thanks to the Lord”.

  However my favorite thanksgiving verses do not come from the Psalms at all but from the Old Testament Prophet Habakkuk 3:17-19

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms

And there are no grapes on the vines.

Even though the olive crop fails,

And the fields lie empty and barren.

Even though the flocks die in the fields,

And the cattle barns are empty,

Yet I will praise the Lord.

I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

The Sovereign Lord is my strength!

He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.


  The most powerful thanksgiving story I know comes from Corrie tenBoom.  The tenBooms lived in Holland during the rise of Hitler in Germany. Distressed by what was happening, they hid Jews in their home. For that they were arrested; Corrie and her sister were sent to the concentration camp Ravensbruck where her sister died.

Corrie told how they were housed in a filthy building infested with fleas, and the women were badly bitten by them.  It was only later Corrie would say, “Thank God for the fleas”.  Women imprisoned in the camp were often the targets of sexual assaults from the guards. However the women in Corrie’s building were never harassed by camp personnel or soldiers.  Why? Because as Corrie would learn, everyone in the camp knew about the flea infestation and that the women in that building were covered with fleas and fleas bites and did not want to go anywhere near the building or the women who lived there.  The fleas protected the women from terrible experiences.  Corrie came to see the fleas as a gift from God for which she should and could be thankful.

  That story always makes me stop and think about those times in my life when dreams were shattered, my heart was broken, or  disappointments loomed over my plans.  My life took different directions because of those situations, and many of those were for the good---far better than I could have imagined them!

  Garth Brooks put this same idea to music in his song, “I Thank God for Unanswered Prayers”.

  This Thanksgiving as you are feasting on turkey and pumpkin pie, and giving thanks for food, family, friends,  freedom and football—all of the good things-take a moment to think back over the “fleas” and the “unanswered prayers” and see if there might be reason to say “Thank you God for these as well”.



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