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Thankful for Families
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Photo: Richard Styles
In my childhood, Thanksgiving was something to celebrate every day, not just once a year. While I didn’t grow up with lots of worldly goods, I did enjoy the warm embrace of a loving mother and the example of a good, responsible father.

Then he died of a massive heart attack when I was 15-years-old, Two years later the U.S. Embassy in Colombia issued our legal papers and we moved to our adoptive country, the U.S.A. I suppose I could have concentrated on the losses in my life: fatherless at 15; away from home, country, family and friends at 17; having to learn a new language, and so on. But a month after we arrived in the United States we celebrated our first Thanksgiving. It helped put our new life in perspective. Though separated from our homeland, we had a new home. We had lost family and friends, but we still had one another and new friends. And though we were away from our church of birth, we found a new faith that provided us with greater hope. So amid our negative circumstances, God provided us with many positives to focus on.

In marriage, I’m afraid we often look at the negative rather than the positive in our spouse. I heard about the newlyweds on their honeymoon, where the groom took his bride by the hand and said, “Now that we’re married, dear, I hope you won’t mind if I mention a few little defects that I’ve noticed about you.” “Not at all,” the bride coyly replied. “It was those little defects that kept me from getting a better husband.”

That story calls to mind some sage advice attributed to James Dobson: “The key to a healthy marriage is to keep your eyes wide open before you wed—and half-closed thereafter.”

Thank Them!

This Thanksgiving, as we gather with our families around the table, why not thank them for their contributions in our lives—and also thank God for them?

Matthew Henry, well-know Bible commentator, was robbed of his wallet. Understanding his duty to give thanks in everything, he meditated on this incident and recorded in his diary the following: “Let me be thankful, first, because he never robbed me before; second, because although he took my purse, he did not take my life; third, because although he took all I possessed, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”1

Keeping all this in mind, I am thankful, too. I thank God first for my family with whom to spend these holidays. Second, because even when my wife and I don’t see eye to eye, we have eyes to see the good in each other. Third, because even though our daughters don’t always do as we wish, they’re mature enough to make their own decisions. Fourth, because even though we may not have a perfect family—and who does? —our love for each other, our love for God and His love for us keeps us together through life’s most difficult times.

If you discern value in what I’ve shared please consider a quick self-check question: Have you expressed gratitude for your family? If the answer is no, there is no time like the present to begin.

1 From the Website Wholesome words Quotes & Notes, accessed October 3, 2006. www.wholesomewords.org/devotion1.html.

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By Claudio Consuegra. Portion reprinted with permission from Mid-America Outlook Magazine, Vol. 27, #11, with permission from the Mid-America Union. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.


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