Giving Thanks

I’ve just returned from an amazing 6 weeks in Ireland (with a small stopover in London). What an incredible experience! I most definitely fell in love with this beautiful land. I’ll write all about my time there soon, but on this wonderful day of Thanksgiving I want to share something else with you.

This will be the first Thanksgiving I’ve spent in America in two years. The last two Thanksgivings I was in Mexico doing mission work. We still got to celebrate with a great meal and lots of people, and I could focus on truly being thankful for what I have.

Two days ago as I went through security and customs in Dublin to get on my flight back to the US, a lot of people were talking about Thanksgiving and wishing each other a happy holiday. There were versions of one particular wish that I heard over and over again, and it struck me a both strange and sad. “Eat well!” or “Eat a lot!” or “Have lots of food!” seemed to echo over and over again throughout my journey home.

I couldn’t help but wonder, is this what we’ve come to? A day that was established to celebrate peace, unity, gratefulness, and sharing what we have, has come down to “eat well and shop a lot?” Having been away, I’m excited to see my family again all in one place. I’m looking forward to a day of rest. I’m actually thinking about all the things I have to be thankful for, and the last things on my mind are the food and shopping.

It’s easy to get caught up in expectations and in doing what everyone else is doing. If everyone you know is talking about food and Black Friday, it’s easy to do the same yourself. But what about actually giving thanks?

So on this beautiful day of Thanksgiving, I’d like to extend an invitation to be rebellious. Step out of the norm. Forge your own path. Pause and really think about all the things you can be thankful for, and actually give the credit to the One to whom it is due. Give thanks out loud! And if you want to be really crazy, don’t leave at 6 pm to get in line at the stores. Stay up late connecting with your family or friends and sleep in on Friday. Maybe give away your time by helping someone, instead of giving away your money on presents or things no one really needs.

Happy Thanksgiving! May we all be thankful.

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