A Thanksgiving Prayer

O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts, we lift our hands to you. We come to you empty. We have nothing to give to you. Our hands our empty of anything which you might not have. Our lips have no words which you have not formed. Our minds have no thoughts of which you are unaware. We come to you empty.

You created this world and all that is in it. You fashioned the heavens and the earth. You formed them over the raging seas and plunging depths. You gathered the dust and cast our form. You breathed into us your breath of life. You spoke to us.

Who are we, that you are mindful of us? Who are we that you have set your thoughts upon us? O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts, we lift our hands to you. We come to you empty.

You gave us our form and you gave us our being. You gave us our belonging and you gave us our task. You gave us our home and you gave us our limits.

But we have failed.

O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts, we lift our hands to you. We come to you empty.

What you made good we squandered. What you pulled from the disorder, we have plunged back in. All of creation groans. We groan.

O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts, we lift our hands to you. We come to you empty.

And you have ordained that this year we should come to you, emptied of more. In the past months we have felt even the imagined reserves of our independence depleated. We have watched as our ideas and dreams, securities and abilities, drained away. We have felt our emptiness in new and unimagined ways.

We have felt the loss of routine and familiarity.

We have felt the loss of the comforts of home and the probabilities of the future.

We have felt the loss of personal stability and independence.

We have felt the loss of memories and freedom.

We have felt the loss of friendships and self-image.

We have felt the loss of close friends and loved ones.

We have felt the loss of meaning and importance.

We have felt the loss of hopes and dreams.

O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts, we lift our hands to you. We come to you empty.

We come to you empty.


But he emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts, we lift our hands to you. We come to you full. Our hands are weighed down with the extravagant gifts you have poured out upon us in your Son Jesus Christ. We have no barns big enough, no storehouses grand enough. We would have to tear them all down and build larger, and still they would be embarrassingly insufficient. For the bounty with which you have blessed us is exceedingly, abundantly beyond all that what we could ask or imagine. You have responded to the depths of our emptiness with the overflowing fullness of your grace.

Every good gift, and every perfect gift comes down from you, the Father of lights. And around this table we see a cornucopia.

We see the gift of shelter and warmth.

We see the gift of food and drink.

We see the gift of love and friendship.

We see the gift of new birth and youth.

We see the gift of age and wisdom.

We see the gift of laughter of tears.

We see the gift of faith and hope.

We see the gift of love.

O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts, we lift our hands to you. We come to you full.

And so as we sit and enjoy the richness of your gifts,

As we feast,

As we laugh,

As we rejoice in you,

We do so in worship to you,

O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts.


Who ever thought this was a good idea, ice being hurled from the sky? There is a sense of awe, a godly dread, which I feel in my stomach when I look out at a cloud that sits enthroned miles about the earth. There is within this mass of moisture a power which I could never fathom. There are gusts of winds sweeping up inside of its own super system, pulling water into itself, freezing it, and then flinging it to the earth at speeds faster than I can drive a car. What kind of a planet is this? Isn’t there someone who can control this?

Wind and water
Power and fury
Strength and taunting
Power and ice

“Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness,
that you may take it to its territory
and that you may discern the paths to its home?
You know, for you were born then,
and the number of your days is great!
“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
for the day of battle and war?
What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,
or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?
“Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain
and a way for the thunderbolt,
to bring rain on a land where no man is,
on the desert in which there is no man,
to satisfy the waste and desolate land,
and to make the ground sprout with grass?
“Has the rain a father,
or who has begotten the drops of dew?
From whose womb did the ice come forth,
and who has given birth to the frost of heaven?
The waters become hard like stone,
and the face of the deep is frozen.
Job 38:19–30 (ESV) 

Moisture sucked in, spun, and spit to the ground. Heat and cold clash. Molecules bind. Vapor condenses. Hail descends in a rage.

As seen from under the sun, this is merely the product of the heating and cooling of the earth’s surface. To the one with eyes to see, this is the hand of the LORD.

Sleep – a new fad?

Who would have ever come up with the idea of sleep? If it were not part of the very fabric of our existence from the absolute beginning, would it ever have caught on?

I can imagine the first brainstorming session. “Hey! I have an idea. Let’s all take about one third of our day and shut down completely. We won’t be able to hear anything, see anything, do anything. We will be completely unreachable, unless someone in the apartment above us decides to play marbles at 2 am. We won’t eat, or read, or work, or play. It will be like we are dead, except sometimes we will have these thoughts that are extremely realistic in the moment but nearly impossible to remember once we are awake again. Oh, yes. And then if we go for a few nights without doing this, it will drive us mad. What a great idea!”

Would that really have ever been a fad? Would it have been the younger or older generations who had adapted to it first, with all the others mocking it until they figured it out? Who would have thought of this?

And then, who would have ever come up with the plan of taking this third of our day, and therefore a third of our life, and use it to allow our bodies to process everything that has happened. Our cells use it to clean themselves, multiply into more, or eliminate others. Our brain uses it to process information stored in the various parts of our consciousness. Even our organs, muscles, and tissues use it to relax, repair, and prepare for the upcoming day. Who would have built it into the solar system by covering parts of this rotating earth in darkness for hours every day? And then on top of that, built it into the very circuit of the year, where the fields, animals, trees, and the very land itself sleeps in the winter season? Who would have ever come up with this?

I suppose one could say it was an unfortunate accident and all of life just adapted to it. That is possible. But it seems to take a leap of faith I’m not ready to make. The evidence points to a God who has a plan and knows how to build an element of trust and dependence into every day.

Good days

“Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.”

The Hobbit

Many today are in some of those uncomfortable days right now. I wonder what the stories will be years from today.

Plants are light eating beings.

> “Plants are light eating beings.” That shocked me. I read it again. “Plants are light eating beings.” The statement is true as long as the “being” is understood as an organism and not something possessing personhood. But it wasn’t the “being” that shocked me. It was the fact that there really are living creations that grow, and reproduce, and die which eat light. Plants convert rays, or particles, or whatever scientists are labeling what emanates from the sun nowadays, and turn it into food. They take what is intangible and make something of it, namely their livelihood. Sure, they pull moisture and nutrients in through their roots (which, by the way, is incredible as well), but light is what feeds them. That is truly amazing! And I walk by these creations every day. They decorate our living room and hallway. I even have some in my bedroom! Plants eat light. Imagine that.


We judge a belief based upon its validity. Does it align with God’s truth? Is it logically sound? It is consistent with reality? Is it possible and probable?

We do not condemn a belief merely because of the people who hold it. It may be a proof against the belief’s validity, but we can’t discount an idea just because someone lived it out poorly. Just because Adolf Hitler brushed his teeth says nothing to whether it was a good or bad idea. It is a good idea regardless of what he thought.

Ad hominem attacks only hurt our ability to reason. And ultimately, they will be used against the beliefs we hold dear. Because you and I both know, we aren’t the best representatives of our cherished beliefs either.

To Create


To create something of true beauty.
To forge something to stand. Endure. Carry another’s life.
To speak into the darkness some word of light. Flickering. Brief but bright.
To add some weight of meaning to a fleeting moment.
To stamp onto a shifting mist the permanence of a memory, a sign post, an Ebenezer.
To not merely consume, nor mechanically produce.
But to form.
To fashion.
To bless.


One of the many interesting thoughts from Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray

“You are a sceptic.” “Never! Scepticism is the beginning of faith.”

I greatly appreciated my first time reading through this book. There are many things to disagree with, but his presentation of guilt is not one of them. This is a powerful story of the death of the soul in the secret life.

How much…

When I ask the question of responsibility, it comes out as “how much do I have to…give/love/forgive/sacrifice…?” It nearly always leaves me bouncing between self-righteousness and frustrated obligation.
But when Jesus asks the question it is “how much can you …give/love/forgive/sacrifice…?”

Small change. Big difference.

Everything is a free gift

Once we know through faith in Christ’s work for us that we are reconciled to God, and that the Creator is now not just our sovereign but our father, we can begin to have a more “sacramental” experience of the world. We see everything as a free gift from Father and a foretaste of the glory and goodness to come in our eternal inheritance. In short, as Miroslav Volf puts it, “Attachment to God amplifies and deepens enjoyment of the world.” It does not diminish it.

Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical by Timothy Keller