It’s Thanksgiving today here in Canada. Because we like to get this holiday out of the way long before the Christmas season begins, we celebrate it in early October as opposed to late November like our neighbors to the south. But apart from the different date and the different national history, it is otherwise much the same in its purpose, meaning, and even menus and rituals. We are particularly pleased this year to have my sister and her family visiting us from the US now that the borders are back to a state of normalcy (when entering Canada, at least—there are still restrictions when entering the US).
I have just returned from a week spent a few hours north of the city where I was able to settle into a little house by a lake to work on some writing projects. That involved final edits to the second volume of the “Words from the Wise” series of devotional books. This one is titled Understanding and Trusting Our Great God and will be released in July. Like Knowing and Enjoying God before it, it combines brief devotionals with “SquareQuote” graphics similar to the ones I share through social media each day. The theme of this volume is the character of God and its purpose is to convince people to know God and, thereby, to love and trust him. It is based on that most beautiful answer from the Westminster Shorter Catechism: “God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.” I’ll have more to say about it soon. I’ll also have more to say about the project I began—a project that should lead to a book that will release in 2024. I am very thankful to have been able to escape from the city for a while to a location that is serene and inspiring.
On that note, I’m so thankful to know God. I’m thankful that I was introduced to him from a young age and taught about his character and works. God has been so kind to me and to my family through these past two difficult years and so present with us. I don’t know how I could have endured sorrow and loss without knowing him, trusting him, and deeply depending upon him. If there are any stories to be told about Nick’s life and death, or any stories to be told about the two years since he went to be with Jesus, God has to be the central figure in them all. He’s proven himself a kind and loving Father again and again and again.
And that leads to this: I’m thankful to have an object for my gratitude. I’m grateful that I do not need to merely feel thankful, but that I can actually give thanks—give thanks to the one who is the giver of all good gifts. If I couldn’t direct my praise and thanks to him, I sometimes think my heart would burst and sometimes think it would shrivel up and whither altogether. I suppose the latter option is probably the more likely one. I thank God that I can thank God.
Finally, I’m thankful for the beauty I was able to enjoy in northern Ontario—beauty that increased throughout the week as more and more of the leaves turned vibrant shades of yellow, orange, and red. The color peaked on the very day we made a long but dawdling drive home—a drive I mapped out as I scoured Google Maps’ satellite view for deciduous forests. That was the right decision! A couple of days prior I witnessed one of the most wondrous sunsets of my life—a sunset so beautiful that it couldn’t help but provoke worship and awe. As is my custom (and hobby) I snapped a few photos along the way. If you’d like a glimpse of some beauty, then perhaps you can give them a look. (Note: a few of these were actually taken a few weeks back closer to home.)