Mic Check one, two... Guest blogger here. I thought I might try my hand at this whole blogging thing. After all, my curiosity has gotten the best of me. Why is it that my wife and sister, and so many others can spend countless hours writing what is essentially a journal with pictures...online for everyone else to see? I mean ok, all the widgets and stuff are cool but really? So maybe I am a little cynical and when Erin won the blog creation award from Rachel to design her a new blog, I was ready to kiss Erin goodbye since I know how much time Rachel spends on this thing. But, to my surprise Erin has done a pretty good job of not being overtaken by the blog. However, it is early on so let's see how long it lasts! Ok, so enough of my cynicism and on to what has been on my mind this week.
Gratitude - "the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful"
So I am sure that this seems pretty cliché with it being Thanksgiving and all, but it really has been on my mind this week going into the holiday season. It is hard to know where to start with the many things that I have to be thankful for, but I think I can narrow it down to three categories: God, Family, and Country.
1 Chronicles 16:8 (New International Version)
Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Isn't it fitting that Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season? What a great way to focus our thoughts on gratitude instead of self-centeredness. Retailers try their best to detract from the meaning of Thanksgiving by making the day after Thanksgiving, a.k.a "black Friday", a day focused on buying and getting an early start on Christmas shopping with some good deals. Now look, I understand that there are some great deals at 4 a.m. on Friday morning but there is NO WAY that you will catch me at Best Buy or Wal-Mart in my sleeping bag at 2 a.m. waiting in line for the newest Garmin GPS. Sorry, not worth it to me, I'll be in my warm bed sleeping soundly. Anyways, I have been thinking about what it means to give thanks to God. Why does God need our thanks? I mean think about that, doesn't God already know he's the stuff? I believe that God desires our affection and love more than the words that may come out of our mouth. God desire a relationship with a healthy view of who He is. Out of that view should come gratitude for what God has done is our lives. I am so thankful for what God has done in my life and those around me and am mindful of that at the start of this holiday season.
I can't tell you how excited I am about getting to see my family tonight. We are going to leave as soon as we can, probably around lunch time today. This will be the first time in 5 years that I have been home for Thanksgiving. Since playing at Duke we have had games on Thanksgiving weekend and I have not been able to make it home. We will be at my parents house and then leave early Saturday morning to make it back for Duke's final game versus Wake Forest at noon. Apparently Samuel and Ellie Kate (nephew and niece) have been asking, "when are Erin and Ryan going to get here?" My sister, Rachel, and her family have been there since Saturday. I can't wait to see the little kiddos! It has been a while since we last saw them and I'm sure they have grown. I am so thankful for family and cherish the time that we have together. Family time is the highlight of the holidays as the rest of the year is busy and hard to make visits. I am also so thankful for Erin's side of the family that we will get to see on Saturday at the Duke game. Some of her dad's family will be coming down for the game from WV as well. The most important family member I am thankful for is my wife, Erin. Ever since starting our new family on June 21, 2008 I am constantly blown away at how blessed I am to have such an amazing, loving wife to come home to everyday!
Finally, I am grateful of the country we live in. I thought I would share a few interesting factoids on Thanksgiving. At a site near the Charles River in December of 1619, a group of British settlers led by Captain John Woodlief knelt in prayer and pledged "Thanksgiving" to God for their healthy arrival after a long voyage across the Atlantic. This event has been acknowledged by some scholars and writers as the official first Thanksgiving among European settlers on record.
I thought this quote was interesting from A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, in 1621: "Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, among other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed upon our governor, and upon the captain, and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."
Sounds like they had some good ole fowl and venison for Thanksgiving. I like the idea that they entertained and feasted for 3 days. I think I'll implement that tradition this year. I do love the history that our country has and I think it is important to remember where we have come from and what we are celebrating. I am also so thankful for those who have served our country and have made the freedom to celebrate Thanksgiving a reality for us all. We are blessed to live in the United States of America.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!