The turkey's have been eaten, the Black Friday sales are over, and now our focus shifts to Christmas. Thanksgiving is already a distant thought as we pull out the Christmas decorations, head to our nearest Christmas tree farms, and begin to Deck the Halls.
I enjoy a good Thanksgiving, mostly because of the relaxation and the happy, grateful attitudes that people seem to display. I love that the guy on the freeway will let me over because ONCE AGAIN, I forgot where I live and my exit is RIGHT THERE. I appreciate when I can have a casual conversation with someone in the LOOOOONG line ahead of me at the mall instead of having to hear the impatient sighs all around.
And then, Thanksgiving weekend is over, and everyone goes back to their normal, often cranky, lives.
I was driving to work today, and I was stopped at a red light. There was one car in front of me. In the left turn lane, on the other side of the street, was a little old man in a van. The light turned green, and that little old man immediately started to turn. He did not have the right of way, as it wasn't an arrow. The car in front of me laid on his horn and flipped the man off. The poor little man got scared and slammed on his brakes. The car behind him started honking. I could see the look of fear, frustration and embarrassment cross that man's face. He shook his head and held his left hand up, making a circular motion as if he was crazy. I wanted to cry. I wanted to park my jeep right there and jump out and hug him. Instead, I smiled at him and stopped my car in the intersection so he could go through. It didn't make me late for work... or even miss another green light. It took about 5 seconds of my day, and as a result, that shaken up little man smiled back at me.
I am guilty of being the one who is quick to honk, or get frustrated with someone cutting me off on the freeway. But then when my exit is closer than I expected, I hope for grace from the driver in the lane next to me. Shouldn't we give a little back? And not just on Thanksgiving... but throughout the year!
In this season of giving... remember to give. And not just presents... but grace, and love.
I was reminded this Thanksgiving of how much I have. I may not have everything I want, but I certainly have MORE than what I need. My mom writes a blog, and in her entry about Thanksgiving, I think she said it better than I ever could. Here is an excerpt:
"Our church has a food bank. It started out pretty small and mostly helped people in our congregation for whom money was tight. And then it grew. Now on any given Sunday, food is given out to probably 50-60 people--many of whom are homeless. And lately, some of those homeless people have started coming to church and attending small group Bible studies. It is really cool to see the more affluent members of our church having real conversations with people who live in the park or under the freeway overpass.
This has made me very aware of how much I have. A few weeks ago I met Richard. He had just been to the food bank, and in addition to his two bags of food, he was also given a blanket. He was so excited--because even though it is still nearly 80 degrees in the daytime, it gets cold at night. He couldn't wait to show me his new blanket, and tell me how much he appreciated getting it! Last week I had a conversation with Richard on my way out of the parking lot. I was driving my cute car and the top was down, because it was a nice day. As I approached him, I slowed down, took off my sunglasses so he could see it was me, and said hi. I felt somewhat conspicuous in my car, but I didn't want to just drive by and act like I hadn't seen him. When I waved, he smiled, said hi, and then added, "nice car!" so we talked about it for a while, and then I went off to lunch. I left Richard waiting in the shade of a tree, with his bicycle, for his turn to go into the food bank."
As I read that, I broke down. And every time I've read it since, the tears have made their way down my face. I too, have met Richard, and for someone who has so few material possessions, he possesses so much joy!
Lately I've been eying the new Canon 5D Mark II. It is beautiful. And expensive. I currently shoot with a 20D and a 30D and I love them. They have served me well. But I have bought into this idea that I NEED the 5D. I've actually gotten downright cranky a few times when I've felt like it was so far out of reach. Then I think of Richard and his blanket. That simple gift that he was so joyful for... and suddenly that money sitting there waiting to be spent on a new camera, seems like it could have so much better use. So for now, I will go without that 5D... because I have more than I could ever need.
So as we enter into the Christmas season, happy Thanksgiving! All year round :)