Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The real things to be thankful for

 Now I know Thanksgiving has just passed, and I want to tell you about my Thanksgiving day.
 It started out with our morning, running around finishing our cooking, getting wood, and getting ready to head out to my grandparents house. We finished up all we needed to do in order to leave, and we climbed into our cars. I was in the car with my parents. My oldest brother, Calvin, drove his own car so he could head somewhere to black Friday shopping afterwards, and my littlest brother, Derek, rode with him. My second oldest brother, Justin, and his wife, Abigail, met us at my grandparents.
 When we got there, the house was full of greetings. Cousins, my Aunt and Uncle, My grandparents, and the two 'extras' we had this year. After all the greetings, we sat around and conversed while we waited for everyone else to show up. Once everyone else got there (my other Aunt and Uncle, my cousin, and two of their family members) we all sat down to eat.
 The meal was good, I was with the "younger kids", so there wasn't much conversation, but the company was pleasant. I hurried up and ate so I could sit by the "adult" table and listen in on the conversation. I don't remember much of the conversation, but I do remember it involved a lot of laughter.
 After everyone had finished eating, and had their dessert, people slowly started trickling off to different parts of the house. The dads went into the living room to watch the football game, the younger kids downstairs, the moms to the table to do a puzzle, and the older kids were at the table conversing with the moms, or out in the living room, talking. I was one of the ones in the living room.
 As the day went on, I kept hearing a lot of laughter out at the table, so I started listening in. They were all taking personality tests, I know, kind of weird and random, but weird and random is normal for our family.
 Each person would take the test, and then they would read off different famous people who had the same personalities, and read about their personality to the rest of the group. I decided it sounded like they were having enough fun, so I joined them.
 My Cousin Abby had the same as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sherlock Holmes, Hannibal Barca and a bunch of really smart and mean people. My mom has the same personality as Hitler, Winston Churchill, Darth Vader and sever other intelligent world dictators. My aunt, the same as Lady Gaga, Jesus, and people with caring hearts, that is, those who lived to adulthood without committing suicide. Several others did the test, and we were all having fun, making fun of each other.
 As the conversation slowly died down, Abby said, "You know, it's a really good thing that I am a Christian. Because if it was not for Christ in my life, I would be a selfish jerk, and I wouldn't care what people would say about me." Now, she has one of the most compassionate and serving hearts, and is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. Then my mom said, "I would be too. I would boss people around, and do whatever I wanted, and not care about what others thought, if it wasn't for Christ in my life." Now, my mom can get along with almost anyone, she has so much grace in her. then my aunt chimed in, "I would probably have killed myself many years ago, if it weren't for God." my aunt has reached out and touched so many lives.
 All those people my cousin cares for, the strangers she has compassion for, the people who see her shining smile. What would they be like if she had given them the cold shoulder, or pushed them out of her way because she 'didn't have time for them'? Those people who my mom has shown patients towards, even when she didn't want to. Those friends she has, that she is constantly showing grace to, and helping through their struggles, even though it's not in her nature. What would they be like, if she had yelled at them in frustration? If she had left them alone in their times of struggle, saying, "it's their own problem they are in that mess, not mine.", rather than showing them grace? Those people, who's lives my aunt has touched, those strangers she has 'adopted' who call her mom. What would they be like if she had taken her own life rather than used it to reach others?
 All these people, who's lives have been changed, not by my cousin, my mom, or my aunt, but by the God who has changed their hearts. Shown them how to love. Given them purpose. Made them who they are rather than what they should be like.
This Thanksgiving, without even trying to think of something to be thankful for, we were all so thankful for the things we should be. A God that loves us so much, to changes our hearts, and makes us different, but not by our own deeds, but by His Love and Mercy.