Thanksgiving is a week away, and the holidays are in full force.
November is a whirlwind, like any other month in the past few years. We didn’t do anything really big, but this is the first month of the school year that I feel like we are finally in our groove and things are humming along. And just like that, Thanksgiving is knocking.
Everyone I know is finalizing plans for the holidays: Where are you having Thanksgiving dinner? Are you free for a holiday party? When is your family coming for Christmas? What can I bring for the party? What do the kids want this year?
I dole out answers as I know them, but many of them are unknown. Some of them are left to the asker to decide. I am thankful for a full plate of loved ones who are concerned about spending time with us, but I feel the holiday tide threatening to overwhelm me.
When I feel like complaining about the busyness of the holidays, I remember that there are many for which Thanksgiving or Christmas is just another day. For each thing I write on my list to do, there is a person who doesn’t have anything to do but survive these days, someone who sees no difference between Christmas and the day that they got their only pair of shoes stolen.
As I’m fighting against the menace of EVERYTHING HOLIDAY RIGHT NOW HURRY UP YOU’RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME there is a person who has nothing but time, hours ahead of him containing nothing but hunger.
My blessings are highlighted when I think of the needy. I have so much – how did I get it? What is it about me that I’m allowed to sit here in my warm house while there are people in the world who haven’t lived in a warm house in years, maybe never?
The answer is not that I’m smarter, or better, or luckier, or loved more. The answer is that I don’t know. I don’t try to find the answers. I’m not sure that I want to know them.
But God does, and just as he made me, he made everyone. Just as he provides for me, he provides for the needs of everyone. That’s as far as it goes. The rest is in his plan.
I feel like God has given me a responsibility to help and to give to others who don’t have. Do I give what I have? Maybe, if it’s appropriate. What is more important is to give what is needed. How can I know what other people need?
We can ask them. We can ask others who have provided for them. We can buy items off a list of previous gifts given and used. Or we can ask God.
What is God telling me to do this holiday season? What is my role in helping him provide for others? How can I share my thankfulness? These are questions that I do not have the answers to right now. I trust that God will show me.
In the meantime, at the beginning of yet another holiday season, I am reminded to share and to give, all the while thanking God for what he has given me.
Dear God, show me what I can do to share your love this holiday season. Help me to see clearly the opportunities that you have provided only to me. Thank you, Amen.
The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. Psalm 28:7 (NLT)
Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20 (ERV)
If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. Romans 12:8 (NLT)