Spiritual Director · November 17, 2015

Are you Ready?

Every year at this time of year I can hear his voice. No, I am not talking about the Lord necessarily, but about Woody. He was a buddy during my college days at IU. Every year, at this time of year, he would start and not stop. Over and over again he said it, over and over again he got other people to say it. Over and over all through the month of November, Woody would say “Happy Thanks-Givan” using my last name rather than the standard Thanksgiving. Sigh, it got old really fast.

So thanks to Woody I have this on my mind every year. I have two brothers (2 and 3 years younger) who have picked up on it and we say it to each other “Happy Thanks-Givan” and I get to relive it over again. Of course this season has nothing to do with me or my family name. Now that I am older I laugh at it and it doesn’t bother me. But I prefer “Happy Thanksgiving”.

I was checking out of the grocery store over the weekend and the clerk said “Are you ready for Thanksgiving?” and I kind of panicked. No, I’m not, I said to her. I said something like “It’s a ways away, isn’t it?”. “No,” she said, “It’s next week!”  And she’s right, it’s coming up rather quickly. And I have family plans to gather but I’m not really ready for it. Because I know Christmas is now running over the top of Thanksgiving and we are only so many days away until the end of the year!

But, not to jump ahead, I’d like to recommend something to you. Oprah did a show once on having a more thankful life. The guest suggested we take a few moments every night and write down 5 things we are thankful for. Oprah said it changed her life and she has now a “Thanksgiving journal” where she writes 5 things every day. And it needs to be a different set of 5 every night, we are invited to try and not repeat. You will be surprised by how many things you write. It would be easy to make a longer list, but just do 5.  I do this along with 5 prayers or people/situations I want to pray about.

Ultimately we know we are thankful to God for Jesus and for the love of God and the grace and hope for all people. We have so many blessings and so much to be thankful for:

Here are my five things I am thankful for today:

  1.  Safe driving- I commute every day and drove back and forth to Toledo, Ohio over the weekend
  2.  Family-for the love of my mother, dearly departed
  3.  All of you who read this, especially the NLS board of directors who I spent time with this past weekend!
  4. Goodwill stores-I dropped off two crates and then went in and found a couple shirts at half price!
  5. Movie theaters: I saw the new “Specter” movie this past weekend, I love this pastime…


  1. For world leaders and decisions that have to be made as well as police and security personnel all over the world
  2. For the Via de Cristo movement also all over the world, that we continue to make Christ known and to know Him
  3. For all the family and friends of those who died in Paris last weekend
  4. For the sick and hospitalized
  5. For grand-niece Harper who will have her first Thanksgiving and Christmas this year!

And I would add a thanks and a prayer for the great people of Good News Via de Cristo in the Toledo, Ohio area (Sylvania, Ohio, Lourdes University) who will be our hosts next July 21-24! Let’s have a great turnout and I am pushing SD’s to come as I set a goal of 25 pastors to come and be blessed and bless others!!

 God Bless,

Pr. Doug

NLS Spiritual Director

Doug Givan

Staff Chaplain

St. Vincent Clay (Brazil)

St. Vincent Seton Specialty (Indianapolis)

dgivan@stvincent.org (email)



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Eric is our current Webmaster and works on the NLS Communications Team. Raised in Judaism, he found Christ and the New Testament at age 16 in a Southern Baptist Church. He searched many denominations for the real church, only to find the Holy Spirit is present in all of them. He's worked for One for Israel, a group of native Israeli believers who are sharing the gospel in the holy land in Hebrew and is part of the only Hebrew speaking seminary in Israel.