A Thanksgiving Message

Grace and Peace Everyone! 

I want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours... in hopes that despite our circumstances each of you has been able to find connections, share, discover new joys and begin looking forward to better tomorrows.  

I am grateful today for so many things.  

I'm grateful for the opportunity to do what I do each and every day.  It is my greatest joy to serve as a pastor not only to a particular community of faith, my local congregation here in Austin, but also to serve as a pastor to so many others from far and wide. 

For those of you who know me, I still believe I am the last person I would ever pick to be a pastor.  Every day feels like grace when I  realize what I am constantly called to do and to be for the sake of God's kingdom.  

My heart is also full today because of the love of my family and the many friends who continue to support me and lift me up---especially when I have struggled, lately. 

It's true that so many of us have had dark days over the past several months, and more than a few low moments.  I've had my share, to be sure.  But it is starting to feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel---even though it seems far away right now.  

And I am grateful for all of you.  So many of you read these devotions every day, and have been kind enough to reach out and tell me when something resonated with you... or that you shared something that I wrote, and it helped a friend. 

Thank you for that. It means more to me than you will ever know.  

Today I'm fortunate enough to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with most of my immediate family and one of our very best friends. I'm missing my oldest son and daughter-in-law, but they'll be with us in spirit and probably via Zoom.  

I realize that some of you who are reading this might be having to isolate away from your family and friends today.  For some, this may be the strangest and perhaps even the most difficult Thanksgiving you've ever had.  

Please know that you are not alone.  There are people in your life who would be glad to come alongside you as they are able.  Reach out to friends.  Find a way to have a gathering in your front yard with neighbors.  Host a Zoom "happy hour" or another kind of virtual hangout.  

Or call that friend or loved one that you know will talk you through anything, and then pour your heart out.  

But in all of this, hold gratitude closely, and find ways to show it for all of the many things that you have to be grateful for.  Because chances are, they outnumber the things that might threaten your joy.  

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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