I hope that this blog post will inspire you to live every day with Thanksgiving.
It was approaching Thanksgiving when my husband had a conference to attend in the great city of Chicago. I got to tag along. It had been a while since I had been there and I was excited to check out all of the new places along Michigan Avenue.
The sidewalks were a literal sea of people. Maneuvering through this mass of fashion conscious shoppers, surrounded by the trendiest and most expensive stores in the world, my attention was not drawn to the display windows.
Along our mile walk my attention was drawn to two homeless people. The weather was cold, but not the bone chilling cold that Chicago is famous for. Still, I wore gloves, ear muffs and my winter jacket. The first person my eye was drawn to was a man sitting outside of a magnificent Presbyterian church on the sidewalk holding a small dog. The second person was a mother and a small child huddled in a tight, corner nook on the sidewalk outside of Tiffanyâ€™s. The contrast was quite startling.
Most of the people walked by – getting on with their business and looking at the expensive trinkets in the shop windows. I was moved to tears thinking that by God’ s grace, I am not sitting on the side walk. I offered up a prayer of thanks for my warm coat, gloves and my lovely home back in St. Louis.
I didn’t know their stories – all I could think about was Jesus and if he was here, he could cure them or help them. I didnâ€™t stop. I didnâ€™t give them money. I did offer up a prayer for them.
So many times I have driven by someone holding a card board sign along an exit ramp of the highway asking for help. I usually keep on driving. There are so many stories of scams out there, that our hearts get hardened. We donâ€™t want to be taken so we pass on by.
My pastor gave a sermon this Sunday and addressed this very predicament. He spoke from Matthew 25:42-46. Jesus is speaking.
â€œFor I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.â€
â€œThey also will answer, â€˜Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?â€™
He will reply, â€œI tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.â€
I remember hearing about Mother Teresa and she had said that she saw the face of Jesus Christ in all of his clever disguises on the faces of the people.
As I draw closer to my Creator I know that I will be aspiring to exude more of these three qualities â€“ to love, to live every day with thanksgiving and to be more compassionate. While Thanksgiving is one of our most celebrated holidays, may we treat every day by giving thanks.