Its that time of the year to count our blessings and be in that spirit of gratitude and Thanksgiving. A time to surround ourselves with family and loved ones but some people are struggling to do that. Some are dealing with broken families and illness. Some are far away from their loved ones and some are all alone. Some don't have a table to set or a turkey to cook. So this year, I pray, we each do something small to make a difference. To have the spirit that we will be kinder to those around us. That we will think before we speak the next time we meet someone in a bad mood or who is not filled with that wonderful spirit of Thanksgiving. That we will remember, that for some, the holidays are just reminder that this year it will not be happening for them. I pray that we will be able to share with someone who may be hurting, to befriend someone alone, to create a place at the table for someone who has no where to go. Some simple, random act of kindness goes so far!
I want to share with you some thing that happened to us, in a very dark year. I am reminded of this gift each time I begin to take out my Christmas decorations. I usually always do this the weekend after Thanksgiving,but this year I wanted to decorate early. As I was taking out my decorations I came across the small little tree that is all decorated and stands about 2' tall. On it hangs an angel, a dove, a praying mantis, and little bear ornament that says "Jennifer". It is strung with lights and other small ornaments and the base has a big red bow that ties up the burlap that is filled with plastic cherries. Every year it comes out to find its rightful place in Jennifer's room.
You see, back in 2000, Jennifer, our 24 year old daughter lay in a hospital bed, fighting for her life after being hit by a drunk driver in July of that year. As Thanksgiving approached I had never dreamed that we wouldn't all have been home, well and healthy, celebrating together. I never planned to spend a holiday in a hospital. I remember thinking that it just wasn't fair that everyone was celebrating when we were so devastated. We received a gift around that time, a crocheted blanket that had a hospital bracelet through it with Jennifer's name on it. It sat at the foot of her bed, a gift, from a stranger. Someone who crocheted blankets for those in hospitals or rehab facilities who we would never meet but who touched us so deeply. The thought that someone noticed we weren't going to be at our Thanksgiving table that year and sent a gift was beyond kind. As Christmas approached the feelings are even worse, there are no decorations, no parties. It was my mom who decorated that little tree and sent it to Jennifer in the hospital. A little tree that signified who Jennifer was, a lover of bugs, an angel to us, a lover of Christ and Christmas and all that that means, spiritually and personally. We plugged that tree into an approved extension cord so we could have a little bit of Christmas light during our families darkest time. That was along time ago, it sometimes feels like a lifetime ago. Today things are better, Jennifer lives with us and we celebrate everyday together!! We are happy and joyous in what God has done for her, sparing her life that year.
It was a few people who thought about us, who reached out and touched us that helped us through it. It was the kindness of not only friends and family but of strangers who never met us and still reached out. It was those special people, strangers, friends and family that helped us feel grateful again. My prayer for us this year is that we don't forget, that we don't just get caught up in the busyness. That we remember those around us who are hurting and we reach out, do something unexpected, make a difference even when we can't make it all better. Won't you join us this year. I would love to hear how you make a difference, leave a single sentence about what you do in the comment area and lets all be thankful together.