Thanks  + Giving

Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving – a national holiday – but I wonder if you really know what it’s about. Maybe you think it’s about the Pilgrims, a harvest festival and it’s the gateway to the holiday season. But did you know it originated in 1798 with a proclamation by George Washington? Did you know it was declared a national holiday by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 who declared a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”? Well, this blog isn’t about history, and I want to invite each of you to embrace the undercurrent of this holiday more deeply.

Let me begin by saying it’s NOT about Black Friday. Yet some of you have been awake and standing in lines even before this blog hit your inbox at 6:30 a.m. to get those incredible “deals.” Over the past couple hundred years, Thanksgiving has come to mean many different things and perhaps too many different things. This is why I invite each of you to bring the literal meaning of Thanksgiving into your hearts and lives this year.

Consider the holiday’s name (Thanksgiving) which is literally Thanks + Giving – a day of giving thanks. The concept of giving thanks is often limited to the act of giving thanks on Thanksgiving when you gather with friends and family for the massive feast. This is one way to interpret “Thanksgiving,” but what if you chose to experience Thanks + Giving instead?

Let’s start with thanks. Thanks is all about being grateful and giving that gratitude away in the form of appreciation. Who are you thankful for in your life? What are you thankful for in your life? For the what in your life – give thanks. For the who in your life – tell them. Let people who matter in your life know they matter. Let people who you’re grateful to have in your life know you’re grateful. Let people who have made a difference in your life know it. Sharing your gratitude with those who are a part of it is an amazing gift to give.

Now let’s turn to giving. Instead of giving thanks alone, what if we embrace the holiday of Thanks + Giving as a holiday for literal giving? Some of you may already take this time of year to engage in acts of giving. Maybe you serve meals or deliver food to those in need. These are beautiful acts, but what about the rest of you who seize the day solely for yourselves? What if we all chose to participate in one intentional and substantial act of giving, whether it’s hands on or writing a check to that cause, organization or person in need?

Let’s take Thanks + Giving literally this year and make it a rich experience of gratitude and giving. Imagine how good it will feel to share your gratitude and genuinely give to others. Imagine the impact your expressed gratitude and purposeful giving will have on others. Imagine the hope that will be inspired and experienced through all of these acts of Thanks + Giving. We’ve had Thanksgiving in our lives and world for hundreds of years. Maybe it’s time for something new! Make this Thanks + Giving something really special!

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