Sitting at my sister’s kitchen table in New Jersey, I stare the French bulldog perched on the edge of the sofa straight in the face.
“One, two, three, four….. seventeen, nineteen, thirty-seven, TWENTY”
Sounds emanate from the adjoining room as a wild game of hide-and-go-seek fills my ears, and I find myself both distracted from writing and simultaneously filled to the brim with a grateful heart.
“Henry is in the kitty litter!!!”
“What?!” I shout, jumping up from the table to find my 2 year old nephew in his hiding place in the closet…ankle deep in smelly grayish pebbles.
“You finded me!” a tiny voice squeals!
“Don’t do that!!! EWWWW! Gross guys! Let’s find a new hiding space! Oh Henry…we need to wash your feet!”
And so our Thanksgiving holiday begins…
* * *
While our hearts fill with reflections of blessing, and many of our homes fill with family and friends at this start of the holiday season, it is our desire here at Allume, that you know our thankfulness extends deep into this community.
We are grateful for you… our partners, our friends, our brothers and sisters in Christ. Grateful that we can open the doors of our homes and our hearts and receive the blessings of community in real life and in the online space. We cheer for you, for your ministries, your callings, and the work that God is doing in and through you.
And for all of these things, we give thanks. We record gifts, we bless one another, and we praise the Lord for his goodness to do abundantly more than we ever ask or imagine.
Happy Thanksgiving friends!
** I want to add in here that this post was originally written prior to the most recent events of the Ferguson decision and the resulting groanings in pain of entire communities. In no way do we want to minimize the present pain by continuing to give thanks for the gifts we do have, but as we steward this space and our influence, we want to recognize that this life is simultaneously filled with pain and thanksgiving. One does not minimize the other and in order to fully honor the Lord, we believe that we must learn how to hold these things together, to use our influence to expand the kingdom of God, and that the Kingdom is fully inclusive of ALL of God’s children. As we hold pain and thanksgiving in tandem, we believe that a willingness to communicate, listen, and use our influence for the Lord can and will produce holy fruit.
We have so much to be thankful for, but there is still so much still that my heart groans to see come to fruition. Jesus, let us see the days soon where we celebrate all of our differences and the only privilege we ever have is used to sow an increase in life and equality into the world. Thank you Lord for your creativity in creating us gloriously different, but remove the scales from our eyes that impede us from fuller living as a complete and diverse body of Christ. Today of all the things I’m thankful for, the thing I continue to be most thankful for is that Jesus died on the cross for ALL people and that my entire life should be lived out of that reality.
Today we are thankful for much, but there is still much that our hearts long to see change. As we set a table for Allume this coming year, know that our hearts are to set it wide with thanksgiving and gratefulness for the beauty of difference that the Lord breathes into our world.