Now, our God, we give you thanks,
    and praise your glorious name.” – 1 Chronicles 29:13

I have never before paid much attention to Thanksgiving. What with it being an American holiday rather than a British one. Now I’m in France, though, I’m paying much more attention to it.

The Church I’ve joined, whilst very much French, has a number of anglophones, many of whom are American. The home group I’m in has a high proportion of Americans, and we meet every other Thursday. We’re meeting this week. Thanksgiving.

So that was a bit of context around why I’m writing about thanksgiving. And I would also like to apologise in advance for any gross misrepresentation of American culture and history that I’ve gleaned from years of quietly wondering why everyone eats Christmas food about a month too early.

But it does give me an opportunity to reflect on this year so far.

  • I’m part of a wonderful Church. Not just in the sense that the church I go to is really good, but in the sense that God’s people really are one. Worldwide.
  • God’s creation is so amazing. And I get to see all the really beautiful sunsets day after day after day, thanks to…
  • The Provençal weather. It’s strange, but really nice, to have bright blue skies and sunshine 2/3 of the way through November.
  • The opportunity to learn. Some of the stuff I’m learning about in my classes is really interesting, and it’s something I never would have been able to do in York, let alone thought about studying.
  • Friends. I often end up feeling quite lonely here. But I know that later in the week I will be spending time with people who I’ve got to know fairly well and get on with really well. This links back to the Church; the joy of being part of a real family, wherever I am.
  • Music. Whether it’s hymns, worship songs, or anything else, music can bring me joy and solace when I need them. Of course, the Bible does that as well – I particularly like the Psalms for that.
  • Prayer. Mum keeps reminding me that there are a lot of people praying. Knowing that doesn’t help – because it feels like if I then fail, I’ve let people down. But the fact that they’re praying is probably the biggest help of all.

There are so many more things to praise God for. And so many things to look forward to as well. Despite the brilliant weather here, I’m looking forward to Christmas. Just over a month until I fly home.


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