Gratitude for the Heartwarming Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving this year was especially bleak.  As the price of oil hit new lows daily, many oil-related companies in Houston are going through unprecedented recessions and as a result many church members are laid off.  Around the world, the terrorist activity of ISIS was enough to make us depressed as Thanksgiving approached us.

Nevertheless, as I read the shepherd’s journal, it looked like most homes shared heartwarming moments in their house church.  Many gathered in their house churches and some had joint house churches to celebrate Thanksgiving together.  They invited VIPs, and in their meetings they shared thanksgiving for the year.  Some shared answers to their three chord prayers and many shared God who answers their prayers so faithfully.  Many had difficulties, but also many more confessed peace which comes from God.  As I read this sharing, I was filled with gratitude and I was deeply moved.

If we did not know God, in such a depressing situation we would be so worried about the unpredictable future and would be thoroughly dejected.  We would isolate ourselves and would have had a very lonely Thanksgiving.   However, because we trust in God who cares for us and we have spiritual families in our house churches, we could spend a pleasant Thanksgiving.  That realization really warmed my heart.

Recently, I have been to Dallas with my wife and daughter.  Last time, when I went to Mozambique for pastor’s seminar, because of the steep expense of hotels, I used an internet hotel site, and was given a free pass for one night’s stay at a hotel.  I do not enjoy driving very much, but I could share driving with my daughter.  Also I enjoy seeing fall colors so I tend to make the trip about this time of the year.  There are no mountains along the way.  I see only trees in the woods, but still it looks so beautiful to me.

I drove the first day and my daughter drove on our return trip while I prepared Sunday’s sermon.  It rained on the way back.  Trees stood in the rain were so marvelously beautiful.  I blurted out, “Look, they are so beautiful…”  My wife replied, “Really?”  That was it.  Before, if I said something is beautiful, she tried to remember the beauty and to share the emotion, but now, it seemed that she forgot all about the beauty of fall colors.  So, I said to my daughter, “Isn’t it so beautiful?”  Then, my daughter just glanced at me as if saying ‘What is such a big deal about it.’  I guess that this beauty is not that striking in her age.

The beauty of fall color is not the simple beauty of its color.  God organizes the world from the beginning to the end.   He manages it faithfully even though the world is marred by sins of humans.  This fall colors and death of leaves symbolizes our journey that we travel; its beginning and its ending.  As leaves fall, we will fall also with an expectation of a new beginning.  As we live faithfully before God, He will color our end with brilliant hues just like fall colors and He will welcome us into the new beginning.  All this is painted by the falling leaves and that is why they are so beautiful.

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