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Giving Thanks
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Most Americans enjoy Thanksgiving gatherings be it at church, to thank God; at home to thank family and friends; or community celebrations with some who may be strangers but who are indeed part of our life, as we share American soil. This connection not only speaks of the here and now but also reflects back to our forebears. Gratefulness always looms in my heart for the stalwart souls who came to this land, most to escape persecution or poverty, so that many humans can be a part of what is the heart-tied quilt: The American Family.

The Thanksgiving season provides good food, fellowship and traditional fun such as parades and football games. However, these gatherings are not always times of happiness for everyone. Reasons vary—folks may be lonesome, they have no one with whom they can gather or they are ill, grieving, or facing difficulties like joblessness.

The author/lecturer Leo Buscaglia, who wrote often about loving others, tells about judging a contest to find the most caring child. The winner was four years old. A neighbor’s wife died. The little boy went to the old man’s yard, where the widower sat and climbed onto his lap. When he returned home, his mother asked the boy, “What did you talk about?” The child replied, “Nothing. I just helped him cry.”


Maybe this Thanksgiving season, in addition to all the fun and joy of the day, it might be a time to help someone we know cry. Tears can wash our very soul. Is there someone you know to whom you can listen and help them cry?

If you can’t go in person to be with someone for whom the holiday isn’t all joy, you might want to borrow my Thanksgiving ritual: I give thanks by writing love notes. You can write these expressions before the holiday or sometimes on the holiday itself, as snail mail or email or by way of a special card signed lovingly in your own handwriting. During the season, I also include thank you expressions by way of notes to people who least expect them. It might be a thanks to the CEO of your local hospital or the local newspaper editor (neither hear words of praise too often, I’m sure). You may even just want to thank someone for sharing their smile, telling them how it warms you heart. The notes, for whatever reason they’re written, don’t have to be long. Sometimes I simply write, “You are loved” or if you think the person might feel that’s too intimate, use the word “appreciated,” it means the same. Above all, remember the thanks that the apostle Paul gave in 2 Corinthians 9:15, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”

There are many ways to celebrate Thanksgiving. If mine help you, then I have extra reason to be thankful.

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By Betty Kossick. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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