Give thanks to the Lord, our God and King, his love endures forever. 

This is the opening lyric of Michael W. Smith’s Forever, one of our ‘go to’ songs back when I sang with the praise band at St. Nicholas Episcopal in Flower Mound.

I sang the lead. The Michael W. Smith part. Not that I was ever mistaken for him, but that didn’t matter.

The band loved it. The congregation loved it. It’s upbeat. It has lots of energy. We sang it with passion. And the message – from Psalm 118 and 1 Chronicles 16:34 – is wonderful.

I’m reminded of this as I give thanks for the many blessings I enjoy. 

I’m thankful for another year of health and happiness. 

I’m thankful for my family. Especially for Marcy, my wife of 36 years.

And for my 85-years young mother Eudella, who with any luck will bless us with her world’s-best banana pudding when she visits this Christmas. 

I’m thankful for my church family at First United Methodist Garland. 

I’m thankful to be in ministry with Senior Pastor Valarie Englert and a dedicated, professional, passionate and spirit-filled church staff. 

And I’m especially thankful for a vocation that allows me to provide for my family while serving God’s kingdom. 

I’m thankful to live in a country where I’m free to worship as the Spirit moves me. To disagree with my friends and neighbors and still love them. And be loved by them.

I’m thankful for those working tirelessly on behalf of the less fortunate. In our city. In our country. On our borders. And around the world.

Most of all, I’m thankful for a God who loves me for who I am. And in spite of my faults.

Thankfully yours … 

Published by Mark Buford

Director of Communications, First United Methodist Church Garland

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