The GIVING part of Thanksgiving

His tiny toddler fingers hug the glass bowl as I hand it to him. He 
looks down at the chocolate cereal and then up at me, smiling like he has a secret. He jump-skips into the living room for his morning cartoon, not dropping even one chocolate bunny morsel on the way.

I grin too as I turn down the plastic bag in the cereal box and then tuck one cardboard flap into another. After cleaning up a few dishes, I walk in to check on him, drying my hands with a towel. 

“Mama sit,” he says while tapping on the purple couch cushion next to him. Wanting to do just about anything else, I sit down for an episode of Blaze and the Monster Machines. Amazingly, I haven’t seen this one.

As we sit together, he turns his eyes away from the program to my face, still all smiles. He grabs a fist-full of chocolate bunnies and holds them up to my bottom lip. He hands me mouthful after mouthful while grinning the whole time, happy to share and watch me chew the yummy cereal.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes my little two-year-old blonde boy is selfish and screams and is everything that is pre-school–high–octane–Lord-help-me–emotion, but in this morning moment as the sun shines in, making angled rectangles on our carpet, he is a holder of deep truth as he gives and gives again, smiling the whole time.

Those who refresh others will be refreshed (Proverbs 11:25).

Those who give receive (Luke 6:38).

The first shall be last (Matthew 20:16).  

And the only thing better than eating chocolate cereal might just be giving chocolate cereal to someone else.

The backwards and upside down nature of these sayings from my Christian tradition fit what I have found to be true in my own life. The out-of-balance math all adds up somehow.

What if instead of Christmas wish lists this year (yes, it’s coming soon), we brainstormed giving lists? What if we put others first? What if instead of ruminating on how that other person should change, we took a step back and brainstormed ways to love him or her? What if instead of grumbling about everything that has been going wrong in our lives, we zoomed up and realized how very much is still–and will always be–deeply right?

Yesterday I went to see Doctor Strange, the new Marvel movie out in theaters.  I loved it.  The special effects–which usually aren’t my thing–had me saying again and again, “How am I seeing this, and how did they create this?”  

In the end, the main character, who has been dominated by his ego and pride, hears the words that change everything, “This is not about you.”  So, w
hat if instead of focusing on consuming, we honed in on giving and helping this year for Thanksgiving?  What if we looked at our families and didn’t focus on our differences, political or otherwise, and instead focused on how we might help each other, grabbing a dishtowel to pitch in and actively give thanks?  

We might be surprised by the deliciousness of sharing all the chocolate bunny goodness of this life, stopped short by 
living into the love that was what we’d been searching for the whole time.  Funny thing about Love, it’s always here–even when it feels so far away–waiting for us to tap into the joy of passing it around, somehow never exhausting the Source as it boomerangs back to us again and again as we try to give it away.  And for that, today and all year long, we say thanks. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you 
and your family and friends.  

Today’s Thanks:
– Cooking deviled eggs
– Free Christmas wrapping at the bookstore
– Another Bagels and Joe location in Lincoln
– New Prayer Room at church 
– Cookies shared, baked by a culinary student, yum
– New pencil-patterned LuLaRae leggings from a reader 🙂
Your turn. . . 

Announcement!  Another Gratitude Gal 30-day Gratitude Challenge is in the works for the new year.  If you know someone who is interested in buffing up his or her gratitude muscles, pass the word!  I am excited for us to spread the gratitude spirit of today into 2017 together. #gratitudeparty  

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