Of Thanks Giving
November has got to be one of my favorite months of the year. The weather is beautiful, the last days of fall are showing off their vibrant colors, and a there is a noticeable chill in the air. I especially love to walk in Forest Park and kick my feet through the leaves underfoot, making the most wonderful crunching noise. The holidays are on the brink of erupting. My life is filled with many happy memories. The point is: it is November. AKA Turkey month. AKA the time of year when stores put up all the Christmas decorations (if they hadn’t already done so!).
But this year is different. Large gatherings of family and friends are discouraged as COVID continues to ravage our community. Residents of local nursing homes are continuing to feel isolated as visitations are curtailed or stopped. As we enter this season of Advent, it is easy to be downcast, to think we have lost so much. But we have much for which to be thankful. If you are reading this, you have access to technology that allows you to stay connected. If you are reading this, you were given an education that taught you to read. If you are reading this, you have been given the gift of sight. If you are reading this, you are most likely to be a member of Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery and one of its member churches, part of a community that cares for one another during these uncertain times.
How, then, should we respond? I would offer that we need to focus outward and offer the gift of “thanks giving” to others. The challenge is to give something to someone; the gifts can be anything given to anyone…money, food, old clothes, crafts, your time, or even kind words. You can start the 30 days any time; perhaps you will choose to start right away or wait until Advent begins – the choice is yours. You can see my Thanks Giving calendar below for ideas, but you are encouraged to make it personal for you and your family.
30 Days of Thanks Giving
- Think about someone from your past that you are grateful for. A teacher. A pastor. A youth leader. Write them a note and tell them why you are thankful for them.
- Pay it forward. At the coffee shop? Going through the drive-through? Pay for the next group of people in line.
- Give away some clothes that you wear. Give to a local thrift store or the homeless person you regularly pass on the way to work.
- Write a thank you note to a health care worker for their tireless efforts in serving others.
- Give a big tip to your waiter and waitress. Tell them why they are good at their job.
- Drop your loose change in a Salvation Army red kettle when you see one.
- Do a chore that a co-worker or spouse normally does.
- Send a letter to a friend or relative in another city and tell them something going on in your world and why you are thinking of them.
- Write a note/send a card to a shut-in from your church. Have the children draw a picture to include with the card.
- Slow down and pay a sincere compliment to someone today.
- Give $10, $20, $50 or $100 to some random person you sense has a need today.
- Send a text message to someone today with an inspiring Bible verse.
- Make cookies for your neighbor.
- Draw a picture for your friend, co-worker, or spouse of one of your favorite memories.
- Purchase and give a toy to a local toy drive.
- Go on a long walk, and notice—really notice—all the little things that God has done in creation for you. Write God a thank-you letter.
- Clean out your closet or clean out a desk drawer and give away those things you have been thinking you would use someday but never have.
- Say thank you to someone and look into their eyes when you do it.
- Tape change to a vending machine.
- Buy a bird feeder or make a pinecone bird feeder and feed the birds.
- Support a local or national nonprofit with a cash gift of any amount.
- Write a thank you note to your pastor.
- Write a positive Facebook post about all the good in the world because of the things God has done.
- Support a small business in your area.
- Write a thank you note to a teacher and enclose a gift card to a favorite restaurant of coffee shop.
- Put a $1 in the next tip jar you see.
- Donate a favorite book to a homeless shelter.
- Buy some canned goods and donate them to your local food pantry.
- Let someone go ahead of you in line.
- Adopt a grandparent at a local assisted living facility and send him/her a card. If you have children, have them draw a picture to include.
Elder Barbara Bowyer
Vision Team Moderator
Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy