Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The spirit of the season...

The holidays are fast approaching, or are really in full swing. I generally consider my birthday to be a bit of a kick off party for the holiday season. I had a lovely day this year on the 17th of November. This year marked the 20th anniversary of the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia, and there were lots of very interesting documentaries to celebrate the event. My birthday was the only free day, so we weren't able to make it to Prague to see any of the celebrations, but it was nice to at least watch TV and see all the changes that have taken place since my 11th birthday.
Mark has shared so much with me about the way life was here. Even though he doesn't personally remember it, he has a lot of insight into all that his people suffered during that dark era, and a real appreciation for the freedom they now have. It was really lovely to celebrate my birthday on such a monumental occasion for this country that has been my home for the past couple of years.
I have some nice plans to teach my students about Thanksgiving tomorrow. It's always great to be able to take the time to be thankful for all the good things in my life. I have so much to be thankful for this year. I'm still amazed to see the ways God is continually working in my life, and in the lives of the people around me. I feel so blessed to be with Mark, and to see how God is guiding both of us even when times are hard and our schedules so busy.
There really are so many things to be thankful for. As I look around at the plight our world is in, how money dominates the thoughts and lives of so many of us, I wish that we could all look deep into our hearts and see all there is to praise God for. Life isn't perfect, but I can see so many ways in which I have been blessed.
I feel like I'm rambling a bit now. My thoughts are wondering to all the things that need to be taken care of before Friday when I will head to Prague for the Thanksgiving Retreat, but as I look at the faces of my friends and family on the new cork board I got for my birthday, I can't help but be reminded of all the beautiful people God has placed in my life. Some have been present for short seasons, others since my life began, but all of them are so very precious to me. I just hope they all know how happy I am to know them, and how I pray God's peace will be abundant in their lives.
I know the holidays are a time when life enters into a breakneck pace of hectic activity, but it really is my prayer that we will all remember the joy of being a part of a community, a group of people, loved by God. It is the true spirit of the season. So now I'll end with a game that I believe has truly blessed the classes I've shared it with:
Thankercheif, Thankercheif,
Around you go
Where you'll stop
Nobody knows.
But when you do
Someone will say
What they are thankful for today...

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