Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. - Colossians 3... Read the entire chapter!
Yesterday, Rebekah and I talked about the annual Christmas letter. You know, the one we haven't written in a few years. We've got the cards - beautiful ones all about PEACE - and if we ever get around to mailing them it would be nice to stick in a newsletter.
"But you post family news pretty much every day," Rebekah pointed out. She's smart like that. "So let's just write 'Go to www.derekmaul.wordpress.com' on the inside!"
She makes a good point.
Then I got to thinking about what I would include if I were putting out a Thanksgiving Newsletter. It would have to be brief, pithy and to the point. Nothing rambling like my blog posts tend to be sometimes. Maybe a top-ten list.
"THANKS" - MY TOP-10: Author's note - the fact that God isn't specifically on this list doesn't mean God is not in the top ten. What it really means is that God is interwoven into every one of the top ten. I can't separate God out, I can't designate God to some specific place on my list; I can't make God fit one place and not another.
- Rebekah - No matter what else happens or how wonderful anything is, I'm always thankful for Rebekah. I don't think it's possible to put the other nine in any kind of a hierarchy or order, but for me the story is always going to start here.
- Family - The whole family is coming together for the first time since Naomi & Craig's wedding... And the family is bigger than it was then.
- David Henry Campbell. The first grandchild. He made the family 9-pounds 12-ounces bigger. Nice job, Naomi and Craig. The birth; the baptism; the family commitment; I'm thankful for the whole Connecticut package.
- Andrew - I am so thankful for Andrew, for his balanced and purposeful life, and for the joy of watching him shine.
- Life - I'm thankful for life. This year has bought the tentative and fragile nature of life into sharp focus in many ways. This year I've had a real sense of the fine line between mortality and eternity. I'm thankful for every breath.
- Church - Our faith community, First Presbyterian Church of Brandon, is simply bursting with life, energy, enthusiasm and promise for the future. Phenomenal people, ongoing mission, celebrating the 50-year anniversary, the amazing new building....
- Friends - One key question that crops up on insightful health evaluations is, "How many close friends do you have?" Friendships defined by trust, sharing, encouragement and soul-level communication are correlated with long-term physical and mental health. Men - typically - don't do so well as women in this area. I am thankful for the friends I have who know me and love me anyway.
- My work - Every day I get to sit down and write about this life-charged life! What a rush! What a privilege!
- Freedom - This could be an entire post. The kind of freedom I'm thinking about has to be claimed; it has to be lived into. The simple fact of "living in a free country" is not quite the same thing.
- This moment - OK, I'll admit that sounds obtuse. But it's the simplest item of all on this list. This moment is where I am, and it's where you are when you read this. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, not even fifteen minutes from now... I want to cultivate a thankful spirit in the NOW - because that's the most important moment that I have.
In gratitude, and in love - DEREK
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. - Colossians 3:15-17