Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanks. Giving.

My pastor opened her sermon today by recalling a Thanksgiving season a few years ago when she was idly reading magazine headlines in line at the grocery store. The giant banner headline on one of the magazines proudly proclaimed: “Happy Thanksgetting!” The associated article encouraged readers to splurge on themselves as a way to celebrate the holiday. Our society, which is so focused on getting things for ourselves, and on getting more and more things, has one day in the year when we focus on being thankful for what we have and on sharing our bounty with others, especially those less fortunate than ourselves, and this magazine was attempting to turn it into yet another day of self-centeredness, consumerism, and greed.

Instead of changing the holiday from Thanksgiving to Thanksgetting, the pastor went on, we as Christians should change the day from Thanksgiving to “Thanks. Giving.” We should not only be giving thanks for what we have, but we should be sharing what we have with others. After all, the first Thanksgiving was a meal where the Pilgrims shared the bounty of their harvest with those who had helped them attain that bounty, and also where the native Americans shared the bounty of their own hunting and agricultural skills. They were thankful for what they had, and they were sharing what they had with others.

There is nothing wrong with spending the Thanksgiving season being grateful for our health, our family, our jobs, our homes, and our clothes. But how much richer the holiday is when we also share what we have. This Thanksgiving, as I think of how thankful I am that my children are healthy, I will take a few dollars that I might have spent on buying them yet another toy or another outfit that they really don’t need, and give it to a cause that will help other children stay or get healthy. As I buy all the fixings for our Thanksgiving dinner, I will buy some extra for those families who struggle to put even a simple meal on the table. As I enjoy having my husband home from work for the holiday, I will remember all those who are home every day because they can’t find jobs, and I will search through my closet for my “work clothes” that I no longer need and give them to someone who doesn’t have appropriate clothes for a job interview.

I will be thankful, and I will give. Because that’s a wonderful and meaningful way for me to celebrate this holiday: Thanks. Giving.

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