Beloved in Christ,
My mother has a magnet on her refrigerator that reads, “your children grow up in spite of you, not because of you.” As an adolescent, I interpreted this sentiment through a rather roguish lens: despite my various missteps, rebellions, and sins, I would eventually grow up. And there was nothing my square parents could do about it. Insert evil laugh here.
Now, as I find myself rudely and disturbingly at an age when I am supposed to be “grown up,” with my own children thinking I’m square (and probably worse), I remember that magnet in a different light.
We are very intentional people. Today, we may be celebrating around a groaning table intentionally sitting next to the folks we most dearly love (or won’t offend). We may intentionally start supper at a particular time so we can “enjoy” the Egg Bowl once all the dishes are done. We may intentionally plan a menu around our paleo nephew or Aunt Eunice’s Pumpkin Surprise. ”Tis the season for many intentions.
And we live our lives in a similarly intentional manner. We plot our careers, we choose where we live, we try to provide our children with every possible life skill, and we plan for the future. Even our Episcopal tradition is very intentional, with every symbol, movement, and word intentionally chosen to be an icon through which we hopefully encounter God.
But many of our greatest blessings are unintended: the chance encounter that leads to a delightful friendship, the work project that gave rise to a new passion, a new hobby, a new ministry, realizing all of the friends and family who support you when your world collapses around you, finding peace after a night of great sorrow. The unintended parts of life often shimmer brightest in our memories.
God is present in the intentional and unintentional. And despite our best efforts to the contrary, God’s blessings are abundant. Charles Dickens once wrote, “reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” On this day of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for Anna, Ellen, and Henry, my family and friends, for the honor to serve the Chapel of the Cross, and the Good News of God in Christ. And I received 100% of those blessings in spite of myself. I pray you and yours are similarly blessed and blessed to give thanks.
See you in Advent …
Keep the Faith,