MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, November 24th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.
PAUL BUTLER, HOST: And I’m Paul Butler. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: giving thanks.
Maybe your family does that old tradition: going around the table, everyone saying what they’re thankful for this year. Today we thought we’d pass the mic around our WORLD family table. Myrna, let’s start with you. What are you thankful for this year?
BROWN: How much time do you have? I’ll make it quick: I’m thankful for my prayer journals. Nothing fancy—just pen to paper. But in these prayer journals, I get to record what God is doing in my life, my family, my church, here at WORLD. And then I get to rewind and re-read what I prayed about over the year—and remember—as the psalmist says, how God has multiplied His wondrous thoughts and deeds towards me. And sometimes I get to share these experiences with others. Here’s an example: On Saturday, April 9th of this year, I texted a friend and WORLD colleague. Here's what I texted on April 8, 2021, I wrote in my prayer journal a prayer for you and another colleague of ours. I prayed for y’all God’s wisdom and guidance. One year to the date later, look at God and the leaders he has brought together. To God be the glory for all He has done. My friend was encouraged.
And I get to rejoice over God’s steadfast love, his goodness, his grace and mercy and his countless promises, whatever the circumstances.
BUTLER: Myrna, that reminds me of what we’re hoping to do during the last week of December on this program. In years past we had people pray for the new year or offer a scripture passage for encouragement. But this year, we wanted to do something a little different—it was inspired by Whitney Williams’ recent commentaries.
We want to hear from listeners: how God has answered prayers this year. So dig through those prayer journals and testify to God’s work in your life. Email those to firstname.lastname@example.org.
BROWN: So Paul, what are you thankful for this year?
BUTLER: Well, last year each of my three children got married. During that time my wife frequently told that old joke: Do you know what every mother-in-law wants to be called? Grandma. Or in her case: “Gran.” I’m not sure I feel old enough for my title “gramps,” but I’m getting used to it as this year we became grandparents! Proverbs 17:6: “Children's children are the crown of old men.” I’m grateful for the granddaughter I can hold, and ones I won’t meet on this side of glory. So that’s what I’m grateful for this year.
Here are a few more reflections from our radio team. Starting with daily host Mary Reichard.
MARY REICHARD: Well this is Mary Reichard, and you ask, what am I thankful for? I’ve got so many blessings, too many to count, but here are two: I’m thankful for fire and rain. Now, let me explain. I turned 60 this year. Last year, which according to executive editor Lynn Vincent, was when I was still a middle-aged 59 year old, I hired a personal trainer. Big mistake. Long story short, too much weight, lifted too soon, left me with four bulging disks. I’m not thankful for the injuries obviously. But one happy consequence is that I’ve discovered the pain goes away when I’m in a hot bath in a room lit by candlelight. Ahh. That’s the fire and rain, see? Candles and bathwater. And it all comes from God our Creator. John 1:3 says, “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” So thanks be to God for fire and rain.
KIM HENDERSON: I’m Kim Henderson, and this Thanksgiving when our family gathers we will welcome a new face at the table. She won’t actually be at the table, I guess, but she’ll be snuggled somewhere nearby - Baby Bethany, our newest granddarling. She arrived 9 weeks early back in July, and she’s taught us all about life with preemies. The NICU. The anticipated weight gains. The setbacks. The fragility of life. She’s big enough now to fit into our eager arms and into our grateful extended family. We thank our great God for that this Thanksgiving.
WHITNEY WILLIAMS: Hi, I’m commentator Whitney Williams; happy Thanksgiving! A few months back, a powerful storm swept through our neighborhood on trash day.
AUDIO: [Post-storm neighborhood chatter]
Some say it was a straight-line wind, others suspected a tornado that didn’t quite touch down. Huge, ancient shade trees downed across driveways, gates ripped from their fencing, a horse loose…
“There’s croissants in the yard!” one of my sons exclaimed. I didn’t even know he knew that word.
Crusty, work-from-home neighbors (myself included) congregated in the midst of the mess, most of us meeting one another for the first time, though we’ve lived on the same street for years. One neighbor gave my sons popsicles for helping him clean up his yard. Another gave them a twenty.
Within a few hours, bearded burly men armed with chainsaws came to the aid of widows and the elderly in their distress. My husband was one of these—pulled across town to a neighborhood much different than our own to help a person who lived and looked much differently than we.
But that day, whichever side of the tracks you were on, physically, politically, racially, religion-ally (is that a word?) … it didn’t matter. God used the storm to bring us together, to unite us as humans, as Texans, as Americans, as His children created in His image for His good purposes.
That day, and today, I’m thankful for a God who, in the midst of the storm, dawns on those who fear Him like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, thankful for a God who never lets a good storm go to waste.
ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN: I’m Anna Johansen Brown. People talk about how hard it is, being a parent. A lot of women seem to resent all the things that kids take away from them. All the things they have to give up. When I first found out I was pregnant, two months after getting married, I grieved the loss of my newlywed life.
Then I held Beckett and heard his happy baby pterodactyl squawk.
Yeah, I have less time, less ability to focus. I can’t leave the house without advance planning and coordination. I can’t do most in-person interviews anymore.
But I also have so much more. Life is richer, fuller, more vibrant, has more dimensions, more colors, more elements on the periodic table. People talk about “the joy of motherhood,” but that doesn’t really cover it. Why does nobody talk about the fundamental soul change that happens, this deep well of joy and a kind of satisfaction I never knew existed until now?
Maybe I just didn’t believe them when they did.
God gave us Beckett and when he did, he added a new facet to the core of my being. As a mom, I am more of myself, not less. And because he is a gracious God, I also have more of his strength to face the many days when my own fails.
So I am grateful to the God of abundance who is himself our father.
JENNY ROUGH: I’m Jenny Rough. Earlier this month, my husband and I arrived at Zion National Park. The golden leaves of cottonwood trees looked spectacular against the red rock landscape. As the sunlight moved across the cliffs, the rock color changed from red to pink to salmon to yellow to white. Bonus: Zion has a variety of hiking terrain: narrow canyons, natural tunnels, even a trail along a ledge with a steep 1500-foot drop-off on each side (I skipped that one). This season, I’m thankful for God’s creation. Holidays can be crazy busy. Stepping outdoors for a hike gives us time to pray, to thank Him, and to enjoy what He’s made, like the rivers, rocks, and trees. My husband and I have an annual tradition: Go for a hike the day after Thanksgiving. I hope you’ll adopt the tradition, too. I think you’ll be thankful you did. On that note, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and a Happy Hikesgiving.
BROWN: From all of us at WORLD, Happy Thanksgiving.
WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.
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