With all the stores and advertisers already screaming ‘the holidays are coming!’ I thought I would try to bring a bit of focus to the real reason we celebrate over the next couple of months. The Thanksgiving and Christmas season is the perfect time to sort through the year’s events and boil it all down to what really matters. Before we get bogged down in the busyness of the season, now is the time to count our blessings and with thankfulness in our hearts begin to share what we have been given.
Many of us go through these holiday seasons like robots. We have our traditions: that party that we always go to; those songs we love to hear; the decorating and lights and home-cooked meals; all these and more seem to fill up our time and occupy our thoughts. Emotions we haven’t felt the rest of the year somehow are allowed to reveal themselves now. We laugh and visit relatives; we give gifts and share meals together. We’ve spent so much time during the year running around, seeing people without really looking at them; hearing voices without really stopping to listen. We may have entertained angels and not even known it. This year – rather than get caught up in the fun of it all – perhaps we could really practice thankful giving.
Thanksgiving is a time to “give thanks”. Not in a casual way but in a deep-felt, genuine understanding of the costs involved. We are taught as children to say “thank you” but often not taught why. We are told that it is the polite thing to do and it is often left at that. But, we say the words because someone gave something up so that we could have…and we are thankful for their gift. Maybe they spent some money or gave from what they already had or worked extra hours to provide a need not their own. That is why we say “thank you”. They chose to go without so that we could have. Would we have done the same? I hope so.
Thanksgiving is far more than just a turkey and pumpkin pie. Along with Christmas, it is a time for giving – the one for giving “thanks”, and the other for giving “gifts”. For both, it really is all about the giving. We are thankful for what has been given to us so we raise our hands and hears and give thanks. We then make gifts of what we have and give from a grateful heart so others can share in the blessing.