Monday, November 26, 2012

More Than Just the Turkey (A Thanksgiving Reflection)

This Thanksgiving we continued our tradition of going to visit my family in North Carolina.  I love traveling to North Carolina this time of year as the weather is always so nice, whereas in Indiana things are starting to really cool down!  My mom, both my sisters, and their families live in North Carolina just north of Charlotte (Taylorsville, NC area) so it is a great to be able to see everyone.  The one "big" change this year is that we had Colten, and it was also his first birthday so everyone got to celebrate with us!!  Abby loves playing with her cousins and it has been great seeing them all grow up through the years.  My mom hosted a great dinner at her house on Wednesday and my sister did a great job of hosting Thanksgiving and cooking a truly outstanding turkey!  I, of course, did my pumpkin crunch which I think everyone enjoys (at least I hope so). 

When Saturday afternoon came and we had to say our goodbyes I was a bit sad, as always.  It is difficult to be so far away from family, but at the same time I am thankful for the time we had to spend together.  As I reflected on the weekend and the spirit of the holiday, I thought about many of those people who are less fortunate.  There are many who do not have a roof over their head, who didn't have enough to eat on Thanksgiving, and others who are very ill this year.  Most of us know of friends or family who might be unemployed, have fallen on tough times, and who themselves might have lost someone recently due to illness. 

While I continue my own spiritual journey, I can't help but think, "how am I so fortunate?"  "What did I do to deserve such blessings?"  When having these thoughts, I remind myself that God has a plan for all of us.  We are all called to serve in our own way.  I have been blessed, but it is my responsibility to find a way to use those blessings in a way that glorifies God and shows how thankful I am.  Every day, it is important to think about how we are utilizing our own time, talent, and treasure to praise God and help others -- the poor, the hungry, the sick, the home bound, the lonely, and the less fortunate.  This quote from Luke 12:48 perhaps says it best:

"From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more."

I am very thankful this year -- for more than just the turkey.  I am thankful for my family, my wife, my gorgeous kids whom I love unconditionally and am loved by in return, my friends, my job, having enough to eat, the roof over my head, good health, the Church, having the opportunity to serve others through some great organizations, and a renewed Faith.  I thank God for all of these blessings and many more, and for sending his Son to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins for without that eternal life would not be possible.  I pray every day that I might live my life in an unselfish way, giving of myself in a way that lives the Gospel and encourages others to do the same. 

What are you thankful for this year?  How are you showing your "appreciation" for the many blessings you've been given?  Feel free to post and share your thoughts with others. . . 'tis the season for generosity and love. . . it's contagious! 


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