Ahh….my favorite holiday is just around the corner! I wait all year for this day. As a child my love for Thanksgiving was born. Our American History teacher brought to life the struggles of our pioneering forefathers, who through toil and loss, found great hope in the God they followed. The stories of their first Thanksgiving, beckoned me to celebrate. And when our little village gathered for a communal meal, sharing rare treats like dill pickles, olives, and pumpkin pie, I was overcome with delight. As soon as we had finished the meal, someone would lead us in the very first Christmas songs of the season—old favorites like “Away in a Manger.” It seemed like a perfect blend of thankfulness for past blessings and anticipation of future ones. Thus my love of Thanksgiving began, and over the years it has only grown.

I still look on our Pilgrim forebears from the 1600s with awe. I still marvel at how God led them, and provided for them. I am encouraged by their faith, challenged by their simplicity, and even comforted by their humanness. They weren’t perfect. They weren’t always even smart! And they weren’t always unified. But God led them and blessed them in their pioneering efforts. When they gathered for that first Thanksgiving feast, they had much to look back on and be thankful for.  They were alive! They had food! They had a structure to withstand the bitter winter. They had friends in the local tribal people! God’s faithfulness to them was evident.

As I look back over another year, I am moved to also celebrate God’s faithfulness. I am alive! I have abundant food! I have a warm home (with a fireplace) to withstand the bitter winter. And I have tribal friends all over the world!

During this year, God has provided for me to be part of training African students from 5 different countries in the MAST translation methodology, so that they can work to get Scripture in their own tribal languages. He has also allowed me to work directly with 4 specific languages in Botswana to translate Scripture and key Bible stories. And God has commissioned me with sharing His work in the world. I have spoken at 14 different events, promoting Bible translation right here in America.

Along the way I’ve been blessed to see the beauty of God’s world—from Niagara Falls, to the Northern Lights, from the African desert to the Great Wall of China. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness for all the places he has taken me and the people He has used me to bless and encourage.

And I’m full of anticipation. Because thankfulness for his faithfulness in the past, naturally leads us to anticipate His hand in the future. Thanksgiving is the beginning of the Christmas season, not just because that is where it fits on the American calendar, but because the anticipation of more always comes on the wings of thankfulness.

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