Rethink the Order
We celebrate Thanksgiving this week in the United States. It’s a holiday that I love for many reasons.
A tradition in many homes on Thanksgiving is to ask, “What are you most thankful for?”
Growing up, I heard all types of answers from the serious to the hilarious.
The focus on thankfulness and gratitude is a welcome one in a world that’s often negative and draining. It’s impossible to feel entitled when you’re busy thanking those who have made a difference in your life. Expressing thankfulness has numerous benefits from reducing depression to boosting your immune system.
But today I was thinking about the holiday differently.
Because it’s not only about being thankful and grateful.
The equation, in my way of thinking, is backwards. We often think of it this way:
Giving ⇒ thanks.
We think of Thanksgiving as the time to give thanks. We stop and show appreciation, express gratitude for all that we have in our lives. And that’s good.
But perhaps the equation is supposed to be exactly as stated:
Thanks ⇒ giving
Instead of giving thanks as the end result, it’s the beginning. We should give to others as a result of our thanks. In other words, because of our thankfulness, we are to be giving. Does that way of looking at it change anything?
It does for me. I realize that I can use this opportunity to do more for others.
Instead of simply expressing thankfulness, what about getting active in the giving part of this equation? Thanksgiving is not only expressing thankful appreciation but also about paying it forward.
As you gather for Thanksgiving this year, remember that it’s not about the turkey, the mashed potatoes or the stuffing. It’s about the two words: THANKS and GIVING.
“Thanksgiving isn’t just thankful appreciation but about paying it forward.” -Skip Prichard
So, give THANKS.
Send some thank you notes.
Meditate and pray.
Recognize everyone you can who has made a difference in your life.
Express your gratitude for all your many blessings.
“Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.” –Tim Keller
And then start GIVING.
A few ideas:
- Get involved with a local charity.
- Volunteer at a hospice, hospital, or nursing home.
- Give financially. If you have the means, write some checks to some charitable organizations.
- Bake something for a friend or neighbor.
- Invite others over for dinner. Know someone who doesn’t have family around? Make it a Thanksgiving dinner to remember.
- Work at the local homeless shelter.
- And yes, even clean up the dishes without being asked…
Rethink the Recipe
Be thankful and get giving. It’s the recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving!