Season of Gratitude
Yes, it is that time of year again. The holidays are quickly approaching and they will be here sooner than you can blink an eye. In one moment, we will all gather together for a Thanksgiving feast. The turkey will be roasted just right (or deep fried!), the mashed potatoes will be a taste of heaven, the fresh-baked rolls will go nicely with the stuffing and perfectly browned gravy. After dinner, families and friends will corral to the den and share stories of old and present. There will be a lot of laughter and maybe some quality reflection. When it is all over, folks will bid their goodbyes and head back home.
By the next morning, excited early risers will already be traveling to local retailers and gift shops to hit all the early-bird sales on black Friday. This is when the holidays get interesting. Shoppers wait in line for hours on end to buy the latest gadget. When the product runs out, a lot of folks will have become disappointed and frustrated when they could not grab the the perfect gift for that special someone. So they will move onto the next store in the hopes of getting the next big deal, and again, it happens: after a long wait in line, the item sells out before they have an opportunity to buy it. That is commercial marketing and it has nothing at all to do with the season of giving. Somewhere in the midst of this frenzied, commercial holiday shopping, folks lose sight and their sense of compassion; and the true reason for the season.
Sometimes on the news, you will hear how fights have broken out in shopping centers, or how some shoppers may have gotten trampled in the holiday sale frenzy. To go from family and friend togetherness on one day, to selfishness and madness the next day is ironic and truly sad. In a season of gratitude, it is important to stop and think about what and who really matter in your life. It is also a time to reflect on your actions, your behavior and how you come across to others. Are you compassionate and ready to share with others around you? If your actions are merely about getting the best deal, buying the "best" gift, or beating others to the sales' rack, then you might need to reevaluate yourself.
In this upcoming season of gratitude, I want you to rediscover the child inside you. Look back upon those days when you cherished special time with your family, your friends and those who may no longer be in your life today. You can shop any day but you cannot replace the love and memories of being with those who mean the most to you. If you truly want to give the best gift to someone you care about and whom you love, offer the gift of your time. A good example of one of the nicest gifts one can give are home-made coupon books that offer your personal time. One coupon may have a few hours of helping to clean an elderly person's home or taking that individual where she needs to go, another could be a couple of hours helping a family member or friend with a special task, or perhaps a coupon to spend the day at the park with your child, or a niece or nephew. It may sound silly, but in a time where people are becoming so disconnected from one another because of work, home schedules, and personal projects, we forget to make time for others who need us and love us.
The season of gratitude is about loving, caring and sharing. This year, carry over the feelings of your Thanksgiving throughout the rest of the year and for years to come. Understand that those you love the most need you and want you in their lives. A gentle touch, a hug, a kind word, a meaningful conversation, or sharing a ride to the grocery store can make a difference to someone you know.