Rushing Past Thanksgiving


I sat there in the warmth of the car, watching him. Five minutes passed by … ten …was it fifteen already? And still he stood there, the merry sound of his little red bell jingling across the parking lot. Despite the fact that the sun was shining brightly from a crisp, clear sky, it was cold and brisk. He shivered beneath his jacket in the shade next to the store doors.

I felt happy … warm … comfy in my cozy gray sweater. But as I sat there people- watching from the car {waiting for my sister to return}… the realization dawned on me.


He smiled at them as they walked from their cars and entered the store. He called out holiday greetings in a cheerful tone. I noticed that only 1 out of 25 or 30 people actually returned his gaze … perhaps they smiled back. But no one – no one stopped to share from their bounty … to bestow a blessing on someone else in need. The majority – well, they were so intent on themselves. Were they thinking about the many tasks that they had to complete before Thanksgiving? Were they anxious about finding all the right ingredients at all the best prices? Or perhaps they were just oblivious to their surroundings for one reason or another.

Simultaneously I began thinking about my encounter in the grocery store parking lot just prior to this. It never ceases to amaze me how people can be so – let’s face it, RUDE – when they can’t have what they want, right now! Fighting over parking spaces, giving people “the look” for blocking part of the lane {while waiting for said parking space} … or nearly running shoppers over in a hurry to get who-knows- where just a little bit faster. In the end a police car arrived on the scene to block off one outlet and direct traffic.

If this is what Thanksgiving is all about … or Christmas … or any other holiday – thanI don’t want any part of it. I won’t even start on Black Friday…

Because you see, it’s not about which dishes make it onto the Thanksgiving table … or whether or not you get all the best deals before someone else snatches them up. It’s not even about whether or not all your favorite people can make it to celebrate with YOU.


Christ. A time when we are reminded of how very weak we are – and how very strong He is. With grateful hearts we come humbly before Him, and express our thanksgiving for the rich and abundant blessings that He has bestowed upon us – of which we are so unworthy and undeserving. Out of complete gratitude toward Him for EVERYTHING, we ought to have hearts overflowing with praise and thankfulness – and we ought to give and serve and be a blessing, in return.

I thought of the Pilgrims, cold … sick … hungry … with very little. In their NEED, they saw His BLESSINGS and gave thanks. Do we?

After my sister returned to the car, I told her what I had observed. We both dug into our purses and pulled out change. I ran over to the door and expressed gratitude to the man for taking time to stand out there in the cold to bless others – for being selfless. His face lit up. When I dropped my coins in the bucket there was not the familiar sound of coins hitting coins. The bucket was empty. “God bless you!” I told him, before I went on my way.


You know, if you were one of those people who walked by that man ringing his bell, it doesn’t really matter to me whether or not you took change from your pockets and gave. Where and when and how you choose to give – that is between you and God. But I wonder, how many people are given the opportunity to LIVE out thanksgiving this week. Instead they will be too busy … too focused on SELF to stop and care about OTHERS. Too busy to look up, smile, and say hello, or thank you.


Take time to be a blessing. Make time to give thanks. Choose a grateful heart. Put aside ME and look to HIM with praise. Enjoy this beautiful gift-of-a-day. Don’t just celebrate the holiday with fun family traditions … LIVE it out to its fullest.


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