Are you bemoaning the Christmas decorations and carols and commercials that have already overrun the idea of Thanksgiving? I have to admit that when I saw Christmas decor for sale in Costco in August, I was appalled. But now I am embracing the season and even seeing how it fits with my idea of Thanksgiving.
I have much to be grateful for: a great husband, a daughter with a heart that bleeds for others, a cuddly grandson who is already steeped in compassion. I own (okay, with the bank) a comfortable home and do work that I love. I have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ that brings joy and strength and meaning to my days. I have friends and relatives with whom to laugh and linger.
To express my thanks for a wonderful life, I discover ways to give others a reason to be thankful. And that’s really easy once the Christmas promotions start. Here are just a few of the opportunities over the last couple of weeks:
- Packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child
- Filling a bag of groceries for Water Street Ministries, our local mission
- Purchasing peanut butter and pasta to add to our church’s offering to Ephrata Area Social Services
- Adding a prepacked $10 box of food to our order at Giant to benefit those in need
- Picking out a robe and pjs for a woman living at the YWCA as part of my ABWA chapter’s Christmas event
- Bidding on items in the silent auction to benefit North Star Initiative, an organization working to establish a restoration home in Lancaster County for victims of sex trafficking
- Choosing a book at Barnes & Noble to benefit the Lancaster Education Foundation
- Planning how we are going to participate in Lancaster’s Extraordinary Give, which provides funds to nonprofits based on the percentage of gifts that day
We can’t do everything, especially in the season where new appeal letters and e-mails arrive daily. But I love looking for unique and easy ways to bless others and to find joy in giving.
So it’s your turn. Tell me how you express gratitude by giving in this holiday season. What are your favorite charities or family giving activities? What has been the most surprising opportunity you’ve found for meeting the needs of others? How does your giving impact your life? How does it help you and your children become more grateful for all your blessings?
I look forward to new ideas I’ll discover through you!