There is a feeling in the air when it’s the holidays and tomorrow we gather with family, friends, and community to give thanks on this Thanksgiving Holiday. It has always been a day that we prepare for for days if not longer (women;), and we break out the ‘from scratch’ recipes. A day of fullness in so many ways.
After this year and all of the changes our community and country faces whether good or bad we are still thankful that we go home to the ones we love and the ones who love us. We feel safe at home, Home is where our loved ones are it is not always 4 walls.
There are a few holidays I remember as a single mother where I was not in the position to return home for the holidays due to military obligations or just being a single mother (you just can’t always jump on a plane). But I knew how much I remembered every holiday my family spent together- we never missed one. My mother always had the holiday spirit up and around, singing holiday tunes while cleaning or cooking or making homemade fun for free. I remembered that homemade fun and brought it into my daughters life when we couldn’t make it home for the holidays.
I may not have had a lot of money, but I knew one thing from my Pastor back then, Pastor Michael Steve Brown always told us if we gave more of ourselves we would be filled with joy and happiness. I carried a lot of what he taught me into my single motherhood and it was a blessing! My time under Pastor Brown is something special, everything he taught and preached I just connected with so well and he will always hold a special place in my heart for loving his church and the members individually- you always knew he cared.
Anyways, yes his teachings just made obvious sense and wasn’t he so right! I was about 21 years old and I’m 30 something now;) and I didn’t have all the $ for the traditional trimmings of a Thanksgiving meal to put on the table but that wasn’t what I needed. I wanted to feel that holiday spirit we hear about, the kind where everyone is nice to everyone (dream world for one month)! I found it. And it cost me.. zero dollars.
I woke up on Thanksgiving and my daughter back then was around 4 years old. We got dressed in our ‘best’ holiday gear- we would be working so let’s just make sure we got the right colors on! We go from place to place helping serve Thanksgiving Dinner to all who were in need. We took leftovers to those cold out on the street.
Her eyes, my daughter's eyes as she held my hand walking downtown commerce were so big and bright as she couldn’t wait to give someone a Thanksgiving plate. She laid eyes on the man, he was sitting against a church wall outside with his head hung as if he were sleeping at 6pm., but that was the man she was dead set on waking up.
So that’s what we did, “Sir”....”Sir”.... I had her voice out to see if he would raise his head- he did. He heard a five year old voice saying “Sir” and he looked up as though he was expecting us. But he wasn’t he was thinking it was his own little girl whom he’d lost throughout his addiction that brought him to the streets.
My child was about 3 foot nothing... so as she stood in front of him on the busy downtown street with a plate in hand she gave it to him and he said just one thing, “you made me feel like I was hearing my daughter call my name again” and he went back to head down with the plate tucked snuggly in his lap.
I knew one thing after that exchange, that that man felt a sliver of family and love that a 4 year old delivered to him.
Thanksgiving is about family and friends and all of that. Let us all decide, and I mean make a decision to give of ourselves this Thanksgiving. No matter the way you do it, share a turkey, give a turkey, give a pie, help out at the many dinners being served to others, or box up the leftovers and go deliver (safely of course).
I can never say I feel empty or not fulfilled if I see that my GIVING is down. My GIVING of myself- selfless service must be out of whack if I feel any type of emptiness because this world will fill you up if you just give a bit more. God’s got you!
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and yours. Let us pray for this community, country and our loved ones and those all around us. That we may see what we do have and what we can do as we give thanks on this day.