Tomorrow before we eat, my wife will ask us each to identify someone or something for which we are thankful.  I’m thinking of my “Top Ten:”

  1. My wife Michele, who proves her love for me and her commitment to our life together daily.  What a great gift it is for her to “be there” for me, and for us.
  2. Our daughter Katie, who in light of my reading of David Brooks’ The Road to Character is proving to be a person with character and depth.  We love her and are proud of her, and she loves us.
  3. My brothers and sisters and their families–both the Preuss side and the Simon side; and my parents and Michele’s for raising us as they did.
  4. The congregation of Cross Lutheran Church, who have been partners in ministry with us for more than 26 years.  Our brothers and sisters in Christ support us, pray for us, and allow and encourage us to do what God is calling us to do.
  5. My college education at the College of William and Mary, where I learned to think critically; and my seminary education at Luther Seminary, where I learned to think theologically.  I had great professors in both schools.
  6. My mentors: Pastor Rolf Hanson, Pastor Bert Locker, and Pastor Alf Hjemboe.
  7. My friends from Seminary with whom I am still able to connect when we see each other as if we were just together yesterday; my friends within our congregation;  and my fishing buddies with whom I’ve shared a week at Bow Narrows Camp.
  8. That I am a citizen of the United States of America, and the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces, and the public servants who are truly that.
  9. That Michele and I have a wonderful home in Oakdale.
  10. That I have learned to see all of these blessings and more as gifts that God has given me.  Luther speaks of the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation as God’s great gift for us, revealed most clearly in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  More and more I am also thankful for the gift of God’s presence, and God’s faithfulness in keeping his promises to us.  And as I mature, I am also increasingly thankful to have been called to be a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ, even as I recognize that it is through the people I have listed above and many others, that God continues to bless and care for me and those I’ve been given and called to love.