As Thanksgiving arrives this year our gratitude for what we have seems to run deeper than ever before, doesn’t it? As we look at all the blessings God has placed in our hands, we come to the realization that thanks giving may not be enough. It is rather “thankful giving” that best expresses our gratitude.
I hope to carry this attitude of thankful giving beyond Thanksgiving all the way through the Christmas season this year. While our shopping and wrapping may be scaled down as we focus even more on what matters most, I’m still extremely grateful to have the means to give something to others—and to have others to receive what I give.
Billy Graham said, “God has given us two hands—one to receive with and the other to give with. We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for sharing.”
The realization that He has chosen us to be such channels of giving is sometimes humbling and heartrending. One Christmas season my two oldest granddaughters saw princess outfits they loved at a store at the mall. The frilly dresses were ridiculously overpriced, but being the indulgent grandmother I can sometimes be, I went back a few days later and purchased both.
As I was writing out my check the tears started to well up in my eyes. By the time I grabbed my bulky package and left the store they were freely flowing. I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude that I was able to buy gifts for my granddaughters when I knew there were many grandmothers who weren’t able to do the same.
A friend of mine is haunted by a news report she saw. A grandmother in Afghanistan was lying on a dirt floor, too weak to get up and tend to her six grandchildren who sat on the floor around her—their parents unaccounted for. Only God can reconcile the disparity between that woman and those of us who will be able to purchase and wrap gifts for our children and grandchildren for Christmas this year. Certainly the love in her heart is no weaker than that in ours.
“Freely you have received; freely give,” Jesus said (Matthew 10:8 NIV). It truly is more blessed to give than to receive, and sharing what we have received with those we love may be the greatest form of gratitude. This year let’s make an attitude of thankful giving the invisible “add-on” to every package we wrap.