I love November. I think it’s my favorite month of the year. I love the change of seasons, football, planning for the next year, and the chance to reflect on what God has done so far in the current year. My birthday is also in November, and I have a decades-old habit of celebrating that for a good month or so.
But my favorite part of November is Thanksgiving.
The food, family, and friends are wonderful. Most of us get a great four-day break from the normal pace of life, and we take that time to enjoy the company of those most important to us.
However, I think what I love most about Thanksgiving is the focus on something we sometimes miss despite the name of the holiday – being grateful.
We tend to spend too much time focusing on the negative, maybe because we’re bombarded by pessimistic news and information on our phones, our TVs, and every other device attached to our lives. Lord knows it’s easy to focus on the negative when you work full time to end abortion.
In this age of political and worldview polarization, it’s easy to feel as though things are getting worse and worse. I suppose in some ways that’s true; but in countless other ways, things are looking up. But good news doesn’t sell in the media, so we are stuck with 24-hour news cycles telling us about all that’s wrong with the world.
Practice an Attitude of Gratitude
I think the cure to some of our social and emotional ills is to practice an attitude of gratitude – not only at Thanksgiving, but all the time. When we have a perpetual attitude of gratitude, we have a much harder time being a curmudgeon. We see God’s hand at work on the mountaintops and in the valleys, and we praise and thank Him no matter our temporary condition. What a great witness to those around us.
I love the book of Philippians. Paul encourages his readers to maintain an attitude of joy and thanksgiving – even though he is sitting in jail. He has been imprisoned and betrayed, and yet he remains unflappable. Now that’s making lemonade out of lemons.
We should all practice a little more lemonade-making these days – at least I need to. So, to inspire and encourage us to live more like Paul – to see God’s hand at work in the midst of trials, while being grateful – I’ve put together my Top 20 Things I’m Thankful for in 2018. I invite you to do the same and then share them with your friends and family on Thanksgiving. And consider doing the same thing once a month or so – reminding your loved ones of the myriad of things we should be thankful for.
My Top 20 Things I’m Thankful for in 2018
So, in no particular order, here are my Top 20 Things I’m Thankful for in 2018. Most of these are not the normal answers like Jesus, church, good health, etc., because I want you to actually read them and be somewhat entertained. Some are funny, some are serious, but all of them remind me just how good a God we serve.
- Al Mohler’s daily podcast, The Daily Briefing. Al Mohler is one the smartest, most articulate Christian worldview commentators of our age, and his podcast is my morning drive intellectual coffee.
- Texas sunsets. Wow. Just wow. God shows off most evenings here in the Lone Star State.
- Everybody (including myself) complains so much about air travel these days, that I think we’ve forgotten we can cross the entire country in a few hours. We have a mobility that earlier generations never would have dreamed of.
- Pre-TSA check-in. (See above.)
- Human Coalition’s newest innovation – our virtual care clinic. Our expansion into telemedicine and the ability to assist hurting women that we can’t reach physically is just awesome. Human Coalition has always pushed the limits of what’s possible in the pro-life world, and our team did it again this year.
- Teenagers, Jess and I have two of them. They stretch us, frustrate us, inspire us, encourage us, and drive us crazy – generally all in the same day.
- Modern medicine. Four years ago, I had a stent put in to save me from a heart attack. I was 42 at the time. I’ve had a clean bill of health since then, and it’s only due to some smart doctors, some amazing technology, and good medicine.
- Pictures of me and the babies we’ve helped rescue. I don’t get to meet most of the 10K+ babies we’ve helped rescue from abortion. But occasionally, I get to visit a family and their baby, and they always ask for a picture. I keep them on my phone; and on the tougher days, I pull them out to remind me why we do what we do.
- Fellow introverts. You get me. I get you. Enough said.
- Scott Klusendorf – in my view, he is the greatest pro-life apologist of our time. He trained our staff again this year. I love that guy.
- The color blue. It’s the color of my car, most of my wardrobe, my bedroom walls, and most of the Human Coalition logo.
- My wife’s cooking. It’s a wonder I’m not two times my size.
- The Human Element It’s Human Coalition’s new media outreach, training people on a pro-life worldview. As an ex-radio guy, it’s been a ton of fun.
- V-8 engines. Just sayin’.
- Pro-life politicians. Not the fake ones – the real ones. These men and women step into the worst of American society and stand strong for those who have no voice. Respect.
- The Black Pro-Life Coalition. I’ve become good friends with several of these African-American warriors. They carry a message few people want to hear, but they carry it faithfully anyhow.
- Steelers football. I may live in Dallas now, but I still bleed black and gold.
- 23 years of amazing marriage. Thanks, honey!
- Cap’n Crunch. This may explain #7.
- The entire team of staff and volunteers at Human Coalition. You all inspire me. Impossible. Difficult. Done!
Have a fantastic Thanksgiving, and may we work on an attitude of gratitude all year long. Now back to celebrating my birthday.