Giving Thanks in 2020

As I pondered what to write about for this Beacon, Julie Covert reminded me I do an annual list of reasons to be grateful each year just before Thanksgiving. Of course! This has been a long-standing tradition of mine. I am so glad she reminded me. 2020 has not been typical in any way, but I am going forward with this tradition of 100 reasons to give thanks. Here are some blessings making my list (despite all the unknowns, uncertainties, and all that is beyond my control).

  • The Lord’s steadfastness in disconcerting times
  • Karen, for our marriage together of 35 years that has endured and endeared so much
  • Mallory, Brian, and Luke (Mallory just received a promotion at work)
  • Brooke and Matt (He is home from six months of deployment in the Navy)
  • Haley and Marlin (married in August in our backyard)
  • My mother 90 years old and counting
  • The Lord leading me to a much better place this year after a rough year last year
  • Opportunity to serve as Lead Pastor of Shalimar UMC 
  • Working with a staff that has made incredible things happen in an uncertain year
  • The inspiration to hope from the Bible
  • Those faithful saints throughout our congregation making ministry lemonade out of lemons
  • Variety of masks to wear (if you have to wear a mask, then have some fun)
  • The presence of Livestream already in place at Shalimar UMC for this whacky year
  • Technology that keeps us connected in the COVID-19  year
  • Patient people in impatient times
  • Steadfast church members in times of challenge 
  • Health plans that lead to feeling better and significant weight loss (I finally lost a lot of extra pounds this year)
  • Running shoes that make me run faster (ha-ha in my mind) and longe (I have run 1000 miles this year for the first time since 2012)
  • Happy socks for almost any occasion
  • Drinking water
  • Beautiful fall weather that is stunning and breathtaking on somedays
  • Rainbows, sunrises, and sunsets
  • John Ed Mathison being with us at age 82 and preaching our Be Renewed Commitment Sunday
  • Lt. Carlos Jones (my new friend by accident)
  • Paramedics
  • Those who serve our military
  • Police 
  • My coaches in ministry
  • The young, gifted clergy on our staff and their energy
  • Our Bishop and leaders in our Annual Conference

    Well, these are some of the blessings making my list this year! I want to invite you to list your blessings as well. The stranger the year, the more important it is to count our blessings! Have a blessed Thanksgiving. Hope to see you in person or by Livestream as we begin Advent this Sunday!
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Philip McVay

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