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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It reminds me to be thankful for the avalanche of blessings I’ve received. This year was no exception. 

Though there was much that was wrong and cheap and ignorant in our national conversation this past year, there was so much more that wasn’t.

Here is a list of things I’m overwhelmingly thankful for today.

I am thankful for our sturdy American democracy.

For the freedom to speak our minds, print our letters and editorials, disagree passionately and vote for whom we want as our president, senators, representatives, state legislators, governors, mayors and city councilmen and women. 

I am thankful for the people of integrity in our politics.

I am grateful for election day volunteers who without partisanship or prejudice, handed us our ballots, explained the process to the young, the disabled or elderly and thanked us for voting.

I am thankful for women and men of integrity who ran for office, whatever their political affiliation. 

I am thankful for the members of Congress who worked so hard to end slavery this year.

I am enormously grateful for the Senators and Congressmen and women from both political parties who worked so hard in 2016 to pass the End Modern Slavery Initiative. The legislation will cross the finish line when Congress returns for a lame-duck legislative session later this month. Thanks be to God for elected leaders from every corner of the U.S. political spectrum who care about the world’s most powerless children, men and women—and did something about it.

I am thankful for children kept safe around the world.

I am thankful for the largest grant in IJM’s history that the State Department provided this year for our work in Guatemala. We’re able to greatly expand our partnership with the Guatemalan government to investigate sex crimes against Guatemalan children and bring perpetrators to justice. 

I am extraordinarily thankful for the IJM team in the Philippines, who are attacking the terrible crime of on-line commercial exploitation of little children, and grateful to the U.S. Congress for designating additional resources for that effort.   

I am thankful for you.

Lastly, thank you, Lord, for IJM volunteers, donors, advocates and prayer partners. You are the oxygen in our lungs and the wind under our wings. I look forward to your companionship in the year ahead. 

We're thankful for...