Expanding Your Thanksgiving Lens

Thanksgiving is such a great holiday. In many families there are gatherings with wonderful food preparations and football games. There are relationships to renew, and hopefully, some reflection of being thankful for all we have received in blessings and in life. I think it is a grand time and a good break from the busyness of life which is so beneficial for most of us.

The flip-side of being thankful

Thanksgiving turkey
Giving because of gratitude helps you and someone else. (photo courtesy of

At least for me, it is easy to experience Thanksgiving…enjoy the time, be grateful for my many blessings then pick up with life afterward, which will be heading towards the hectic pace of the Christmas season and all that it means for all of us.

Gratefulness is such a wonderful human emotion and expression. 

It humbles us and gives us a new and healthier perspective on all of life. However, as we look around at our communities, our families, and our loved ones, we recognize that there are many needs which we can significantly impact.

Simply put, we have the opportunity to be a blessing to those we touch each and every day.

All of us are aware of individuals who we know who are struggling. 

Some of those struggles are life-dominating, and some are atypical, like financial and relational issues. It is a temptation to avoid those situations where we can intervene and hope they go away.  Yet, that nagging sense of your potential impact can become quite a dilemma…at least for me.

Being thankful is to appreciate the many gifts, strengths and opportunities you have. The flip side is to put them to use on behalf of someone who is not as fortunate, or who just needs a helping hand to overcome an obstacle.  Maybe you can’t resolve the entire issue, but even a focused response to a part of an issue can alleviate some sense of stress. It can make all the difference in the world to the person who needed your help.

The spirit of this season is one of being thankful that God has granted us so many blessings. Isn’t it time to think of this in a new way? How could you be a huge encouragement and blessing to someone you touch in your life?

I can’t think of a better blessing than to realize that your impact has changed someone’s life for the better. Then both you and the one you helped have new reasons to be thankful.   As we approach this holiday season, the opportunities abound for ways to help each other.

Embrace those opportunities and expand the lens of the holidays to not only enjoy those around us but to be enjoyed by our acts of support, love, and care!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network

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