I love to eat as much as I love to cook, so food-centric holiday celebrations like Thanksgiving are a real treat. My earlier posts, Thanksgiving 101 and Thanksgiving 201 addressed hosting and cooking, this note is all about thankful–giving. When I looked up the definition, the word that jumped out was act—the act of giving thanks goes beyond expressing thankfulness merely with words, it implies action.
According to Merriam-Webster, thanksgiving is:
1: the act of giving thanks
2: a prayer expressing gratitude
3: a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness
I am more likely to give when I am thankful and more likely to be thankful when I give.
Sharing our abundance is a tangible act of expressing gratitude for all we have—family, friends, glorious food on the table, warm homes—a list unique to each of us. Our motivation to give is not born out of pity; it is charity, benevolent goodwill toward others. Pity will stir judgment if our gift is not put to good use; charity gives freely, stirring thankfulness for the ability to give. As Thanksgiving Day approaches, may our thankfulness show in our giving, which transcends a single day and reaches into every day thereafter.
Practical ways to make giving an act of thanks…
- Charity begins at home, as you host and prepare the turkey this year, make two. Two? Yes, one to cook the day before Thanksgiving so leftovers can be prepared in advance. Fill disposable containers with turkey or anything else you fancy to send home with your guests like pie, rolls, potatoes, etc. They will be delighted, leaving you free to debone the other turkey at your leisure.
- An invitation to a neighbor, co-worker, or friend who would otherwise be alone meets a need far beyond a good meal. We once hosted a father and family while his wife was serving in the military overseas. It was fun to have young children at the table again and he was relieved not having to manage the holiday alone.
- Local outreach organizations provide an easy way to give and serve. Though their need for volunteers and donations are year-round, they always appreciate the extra hands during the holidays. Here in Colorado Springs, there are several, here are just a few: The Salvation Army, Springs Rescue Mission, The Empty Stocking Fund, or Care and Share Food Bank. If you are not sure who is serving the needy in your city, simply type, “serving the needy in _______” (insert the name of your city) into a Google search and check out the list of options.
- Planning to shop the sales on Black Friday? The paper promises to be as bloated with ads as we are with turkey dinner. As you browse the aisles, consider grabbing a bargain for Operation Christmas Child or Toys for Tots. Go even further, invite your dinner guests to pitch-in and make it a group project.
“I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusement, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our giving does not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say it is too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot because our commitment to giving excludes them.” —C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity
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