Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Thoughts of Thankfulness

Have you ever received a gift and the second you realized what the gift was you were unsure about the appropriate response to the gift?  Of course, this can be on either end of the spectrum.  Should you gush and rave over the top about this amazing gift that you have been given, or perhaps this is one of those gifts where (if we're being honest) it becomes a little bit difficult to hold the smile on your face and after about half a second you wonder if anyone can tell that you are faking the smile.  You wonder for a second if this is a prank gift.  But it's not. 

If you have no idea what I was just talking about, consider yourself blessed.  Either you have always received perfect gifts from your group of family and friends (unlikely), or you have never, even for one second, forgotten that it's not really about the gift itself but rather it's about the person who has taken the time to think about you and present you with something that they believe you need/would like.  I wish that I could put myself in that category.

I love watching kids open gifts.  They are totally transparent and honest with their reaction.  You can tell the exact instant in time when they realize what they have been given, and what they think of the gift.  Let me share an example.  On my side of our family, we have been blessed with an abundance of nieces.  I have 6 nieces under the age of 7 and no nephews at this point (again, this is my side of the family, not Karen's).  This last Christmas we were all together, and the kids were all exchanging gifts with each other.  Karen and I had wrapped the gifts and because of the shape and size of one particular gift, we had decided to put it into a cereal box to make wrapping easier.  I don't really like doing this when it comes to small children because they don't understand right away that what's on the box is not what's in the box, but this time it just worked too well not to do it.  I was watching as this gift was opened, and what I saw and heard made me laugh.  "J" was sitting on my brother-in-law's lap as she opened her gift.  As is the norm with small children, excitement abounded as the gift was torn open.  Then she saw the box.  "Honey-Nut Cheerios".  The excitement faded slowly off of her face and she said to her Dad in a slow, even, sing-songy type of voice, "This doesn't look very exciting..."  Her father convinced her that they should look inside the box, and excitement returned when the box was opened to reveal colouring books, stickers, and crayons.  I still chuckle when I think of it.  I just wish that it had been captured on video.  Very "Cute".

The reason that I have been thinking about being thankful, or thankfulness in general, is that I have been feeling very thankful lately.  I've also been wondering how I can express my thankfulness and gratitude appropriately, or how to make people understand how grateful we really feel.  The last year of our life has been all about raising support and building partnerships with people all over western Canada (and further!).  Now that our financial goal has been met, I look back at how God has worked in us, through us, and through others around us to get where we are today, and I get to feeling very thankful.  Yes, there has been a few times when "This isn't very exciting...", but now that we have a clear view (in hindsight) of the whole picture, it is difficult to express how thankful we are for the part that so many of you have played in our journey.  So having said all of this...

THANK YOU!  We are very grateful for every gift, every sacrifice that has been made, and every prayer that has gone up for the cause of this mission.  We pray that God will bless each and every gift, and use all of us for the increase of His kingdom, in Canada, Uganda, and beyond.

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