What does Thanksgiving Mean to You?
What is your favorite holiday...
I guess if I were to ask, “What is your favorite holiday” your answer might be, ‘Christmas’, ‘New Year’s’, ‘Halloween’ or as one friend always says ‘July 4th’ , because it’s celebrated during the summertime when it’s warmer. These are typical answers and probably 90 – 95% of the populous would likewise answer. All holidays are special and have individual meaning to each of us I’m sure, but we still have individual favorites. I know that even a few friends of mine would say ‘Thanksgiving’, which is also my favorite holiday and each time I say that I invariably get empty or blank stares in response to my statement. One little neighbor child responded “You don’t even get anything for Thanksgiving…” and I chuckled and replied, “maybe not a present like you do at Christmas time’, however, I feel I do receive something during the Thanksgiving season it just not tangible in nature.
Giving vs Receiving
For the last month or so my church has been collecting food for the families of small children at our local elementary school. When it was discovered that some of the small kid’s families were experiencing exceptional economic hardships this year many of the local congregations banded together to help provide food, supplies and some clothing for those needy families. At the same time many churches and organizations are collecting ‘shoeboxes’ filled with toys and personal hygiene articles that will also be distributed at Christmas time to children all around the world known as Operation Christmas Child, headquartered in nearby Boone North Carolina and is a part of Franklin Grahams’ larger ministry known internationally as Samaritan’s Purse. Right after Thanksgiving and during that next weekend a trainload of goodies will travel through the coal fields of Kentucky and southwestern Virginia ending in Kingsport Tennessee known as the Santa Train and has been making this trip around this time of year for the last sixty-nine years. It is also known as the world’s longest Santa parade.
The joy of giving...
You may have also noticed the familiar ‘ tinkling bell’ of the Salvation Army stationed outside shops and businesses or maybe inside the local malls. The shaking of that small bell and the traditional ‘kettle’ set up to collect funds to be used for food and clothing for the needy who also will experience a Christmas this year with their families. Oh, years ago when I was a child I did look forward to Christmases in anticipation of toys and gifts. It was always about ‘me’ then, when I was a child and what was ‘I’ going to receive, but my whole outlook has changed since I became a man. I still enjoy receiving gifts, but the true joy is in watching the faces of the children and even the adults when you hand them something and they receive it with love and a smile that seems to say “thanks for understanding,” or “thank you for helping me provide Christmas for my family this year.”
© 2011 SamSonS