Thanksgiving 

  

May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  –Colossians 1:11-14

In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

Thanksgiving Day has become an annual national holiday celebrated in Canada and the United States. It was originally celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Several other places around the world observe similar celebrations. Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, and the day originally began as a celebration of a bountiful harvest. Today, however, as agriculture is no longer the main occupation of most Americans and Canadians, it has become a holiday reminding us of what we should be thankful for. Today, it is also largely a secular holiday, but its origins come from thanking God for the harvest.

I know that I have a lot to be thankful for, especially this year. I am thankful for the readers of this blog who offered tremendous amounts of love and support when I thought my world was crashing down on me. I think of each of you as true friends in my life. I may not know you personally, though there are a fair number who I do know well, I am extremely thankful and I do thank God for bringing you into my life. I am thankful for the love and support of my family and friends. I am also thankful for my new life. Though at times my faith may have wavered some, for the most part, I knew God had a plan for me. I just had to trust Him.  

My trust and faith were rewarded with a new life, a new job, and new friends. I am thankful for the love and support that I was given during those hard months after I lost my job. I would name those who helped and how why helped, but I know I would forget someone, and it wouldn’t be fair. Some of you gave advice, some helped financially, others gave their friendship. I know that I did not get to where I am right now without a tremendous amount of help and I want to say, Thank You. I am so grateful for all that you did.

My faith is also stronger because of what I have been through. I put my whole faith in God and allowed him to guide me on the path He chose for me. For the first time in my life, I honestly feel like I am on the right path. It has been a long journey and one in which I got lost many times, but for the first time this path feels right. I am excited to be on this journey. It’s nowhere near finished, but it is just beginning. 

In the above passage from the Bible, Paul is saying a prayer for the the Colossians. Paul wrote, “May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience.” In the trials of this year, I let God’s power carry me through and give me strength. I did my best to remain patient and let His will be done. I remember one day after church when I was speaking with my minister and I explained that something good would come along, and he said that he admired the way I was handling things because I was handling them better than he had in the same situation. I told him that I had faith that God would point me in the right direction. I knew that my faith would bring me through.

Now I am joyfully giving thanks to God, who has enabled me to share in His glory. I am thankful that God rescued me from the power of darkness, which I think in my situation was depression and doubt. However, my faith showed me the light. We should be thankful for all that God does for us, large or small. He has given us redemption, and He forgives us of our sins. This reminds me of the 23rd Psalm:

  

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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