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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

A Day at a Time: Thanksgiving in the Valley

By Scott Harrup
Nov. 21, 2010

Corrie ten Boom wrote in The Hiding Place of the day she and her sister Betsie considered their surroundings in Ravensbruck concentration camp during World War II. They were housed in miserable quarters and were fed starvation rations. Betsie began to offer a prayer of gratitude, and she coaxed Corrie into joining her in thanking God for His blessings in the midst of their circumstances.

But when Betsie insisted they thank God even for the fleas in their barracks, Corrie balked. As the story unfolded, the fleas proved to be the barrier that kept out camp guards and gave opportunity for the sisters to lead a Bible study and offer comfort to fellow prisoners.

In his book Mayflower, Nathaniel Philbrick delved into the harsh conditions that nearly annihilated the early Pilgrims. When they joined with about 100 local Pokanoket in the autumn of 1621 for what is now recognized as the first Thanksgiving, they were looking back on a season of loss that people of lesser faith might have chosen to forget rather than reflect upon.

Many of us will gather around family feasts this Thursday. Thanksgiving’s traditional bounty is appropriately shared as we acknowledge the blessings of a generous God. But Thanksgiving can also remind us that even in the “valley of the shadow of death” our Heavenly Father is still present and is still at work for our good.

The apostle Paul connected his unshakeable gratitude to God with the unshakeable peace he found in Jesus Christ. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,” he wrote to the Colossian believers, “since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:15, NIV).

That kind of Thanksgiving mindset can sustain you in a concentration camp, a famine, a life-threatening illness or any other heartache you may be facing today.

Perhaps this Thanksgiving your life demands more endurance than it offers enjoyment. I hope you find encouragement and renewed faith in the stories shared by the families in the following pages.

Scott Harrup
Managing Editor

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