Five Special Gratitudes for 2009

As I look back on this year, yes, there have been some trials and disappointments, but five blessings have far outweighed them in 2009:
1. My wife and I celebrated thirty years of marriage with an extended stay at a special place for us in Florida. Many times this year I’ve better understood what older couples meant when they talked about love seasoning over time like wine.
2. Our four adult children and our daughter- and son-in-law continue to bring us great joy, and now we’re at the stage where we learn much more from them than they from us. It’s very true – you raise your children, but they also raise you. All of this makes me appreciate my own parents, whose good company I enjoyed greatly this year, and my brother and his family, and our extended family.
3. I had the opportunity to work on three book projects this year that are dear to my heart. I co-edited The Justice Project which was released this year, I completed A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith (which comes out February 9, 2010), and I began a book on prayer (as yet untitled, but it might be called “Twelve Simple Words”) which will come out in 2011.
4. Through this blog, in my travels, in my neighborhood, at my home church (those few Sundays I had the great pleasure of being there), and elsewhere, I had the opportunity to interact with and enjoy the company of so many wonderful people – to be enriched by old and new friendships, and to learn and grow together.
5. Being outdoors, I realize more and more the older I get, is one of the things that recharges me, and this year there were many great outdoor experiences – gardening, hiking, fishing. In particular, while Grace and I were in Florida, we both spent lots of time outside, got lots of exercise, ate healthy, lost weight, and got in better shape than we’ve been in in years.
Through, above, below, and around all this, of course, is the presence and grace of God, in whom we live, move, and have our being, and from whom all blessings flow. Thanks be to God!