Happy [Early] Thanksgiving!

Aaron and I are in Ohio this week, so I won’t be posting Weds-Friday, but I couldn’t let the week pass by without an official Turkey Day post!

turkey-day

We talk a lot about giving thanks this time of year, which makes a lot of sense given the title of Thursday’s holiday. Reflecting on your blessings is a wonderful tradition that should seep into our every day lives, as is saying words of gratitude outloud to the people in your life who deserve them. I love it, despite the Hallmark exploits or Black Friday hypocrisy. But I’ve recently felled compelled to take it further than simply words, prayers, and traditions.

One of my favorite scriptures corresponds with my post from a few weeks ago about putting action behind the words “love” and “faith.” It is 1 John 3:18:

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth.”

I believe that giving thanks is in accordance with love. It’s why I thank my husband just for waking up in the morning, and why we thank God every night. Our love makes us grateful– grateful just for the chance to love and be loved. So just as this scripture calls us not to love only with words or speech, so should our gratitude be expressed through actions.

Doing the dishes or bringing donuts to the office is an awesome start, but last week, I wrote about the need for our society to rebuild true communities, neighborhoods, and a sense of overall togetherness. Especially after this election, when everyone seems so divided, it’s easy to feel like the world is in disarray. Which it kind of is. But we as individuals have the power to glue it back together through relationships and neighborly love. We can stop those feelings of alienation, depression, and sadness all around us through service and inclusion.

In alignment with 1 John 3:18, Aaron and I have decided to serve in a soup kitchen for a few hours this week. While brainstorming ways to serve, I thought it’d be nice to put together a little list of ideas from which my readers can be inspired to get out there and show gratitude throughout their communities, as well! Happy Thanksgiving, all. 🙂

1. Serve at a soup kitchen/food bank

Probably best to include this on the list since it’s what Aaron and I will be doing this week! Find your local soup kitchen/food bank HERE or HERE, give them a ring, and offer a few hours of your time.

2. Buy a Food Lion box

This one is unbelievably simple. If you have a Food Lion near you, they’ve already assembled $5 boxes with all the essentials for families in need for the initiative called “Holidays without Hunger.” Simply add a box to your cart this week to help another family give thanks this season.

3. Visit the elderly

So many men and women in nursing homes and assisted living communities don’t have family. Think about living a life that long, and all you’ve learned over time, only to feel forgotten about. You can brighten up their days simply by visiting. If you have a talent, share it. If you don’t, just call the front desk and ask if you can come in and play cards with them, or simply have a few short conversations to shower residents with a little love and attention.

4. Find out prayer requests

If you’re a church goer, contact a leader and ask if they know of any prayer requests from other members of the church that you can fulfill. They’ll usually know at least a few people who are in a financial bind, so get those names, bake a bunch of cookies, pick up some packets of mashed potatoes and cans of cranberries, then drop them by their house as a little surprise. And who knows, perhaps there will be a prayer request that doesn’t revolve around food that you can assist God with!

5. Write thank you cards to deployed troops

Thank you cards in general are great. Write them to your bosses, your family, your church leaders, and your friends. Thank everybody! But one particularly special way to honor your freedoms and show gratitude for the life you lead is to thank men and women in the military. Operation Gratitude already has all the info on what to say and where to send them HERE. And don’t worry– if they get your thank you cards after Thanksgiving already passed, they won’t mind one bit!