This Thanksgiving my resolution is to be thankful for Jesus. “No,” you may say, “resolutions are for the New Year.”

Okay, then. I will be thankful for the baby in the manger. “But that is Christmas,” someone might comment.

In that case, then, I will be thankful that Jesus defeated death, thus giving me the hope that I too will kick that bad habit of humans. “But there is a time for that and it is not usually until spring on that grand resurrection morning,” you may remind me.

Then you leave me with no option: This Thanksgiving I will throw away the acceptable calendar and decide to thank God out of season for Jesus and His work in my life.

Starting with the day I took my first breath, Jesus has kept me breathing in uterus and ex uterus at the right rate every second of my life. Think about this: My heart hasn’t missed a beat from day one!

When I would go down at full speed on my bike to the bottom of the hill where a stop sign resided, Jesus was there to undo the powers of stupid, even as my teenaged, co-half-brained friends screamed in ecstasy as we crossed the blind intersection alive.

When the drunk teenagers in their little black car leveled the stop sign I had been leaning against just seconds before my friend called me to come inside his house, it was Jesus who allowed me to take the two steps away from my turning into one of those one-dimensional cartoon figures on the ground.

When at 4 years of age my mother explained to me that I could make a decision about where to go after I died and I chose to give my heart to Jesus, He was the one making the appeal through my mom.

When I was 7 and my mother was sure I was going to die within a few hours from measles, it was Jesus who stayed by my bed and brought me back to life. (My little sister, Martha, who was 2 at the time, was taken to Jesus’ side at that time).

When I laid in bed in 1987, unable to even lift the spoon up to my mouth to take my medicine, it was my doctor who came by early every morning to spoon-feed me medicine, but it was Jesus who motivated him, a man who knew no God, to do so.

When I passed the entrance examinations to the university – against insane competition that disadvantages so many young people who come from poor families in Brazil – it was Jesus who gave me the ability to study alone for a whole year and stay focused to achieve the results few thought possible.

When I met the one who would later become my wife, though it was her eyes I noticed, it was Jesus who brought us together and has kept us joined for 33 years.

When I received a full scholarship to study Theology in the U.S., it was Jesus who did it. At that time I wanted to go to Africa to be a Bible translator. Imagine this: They admitted me upon the testimony of a missionary that I was a good student and could speak decent English! NEVER heard of it: Toefl and GRE waived and I would go on to graduate Magna Cum Laude. Christos Cum Laude, excuse me.

When my name popped on a list of potential people to become Lead Pastor of a church in the middle of Lancaster County, PA, it was Jesus who allowed the members of the search team to ignore the number one enemy of all resumes, namely, a name like Ivanildo Trindade. And I have never been more convinced of being in the center of God’s will as I am now doing what I am doing at Grace Church.

So this Thanksgiving I’m going rogue. I am breaking bad. I am tossing caution to the wind. I will have no sympathies for the seasons. I will refuse to wait for the appropriate time and simply celebrate Jesus from here ‘til Jesus comes. And if you are smart, you should hurry up and get your own thank you Jesus list. Like. Right. Now.

“Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul. Thank you, Lord, for making me whole. Thank you, Lord for giving to me Thy great salvation so rich and free.”

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA

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