Here in America, most of us are used to celebrating Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November. It’s both a national and a family tradition – and a happy one at that.
Also called Turkey Day, we gather around the dinner table with friends and family to savor large meals of usually roasted turkey and dressing, mashed potato and gravy, and the good old cranberry juice.
Then we enjoy that much-anticipated football match, or, perhaps, head downtown to watch the much-publicized and colorful Thanksgiving parade.
Owing to our busy schedules and how personal dreams, urbanization and industrialization have dispersed us, Thanksgiving could well be the only day on our calendar to catch some extensive fun with family and friends – some of whom live far away.
They’d probably join the fun with stories about the “One-week-one-trouble” Uncle Bob, or the latest news and conspiracy theories about innovators, celebrities and politicians.
So much fervor, so much fun that one could wish the day never draws to a close.
But the bills are saying Hello!
Besides, on our way to the downtown parade are men, women and children who want the day to hurry to a close, not because they are opposed and allergic to fun and laughter but because they have little or no access to all the good things that make up a typical Thanksgiving experience.
There are the over-65 seniors who live alone in the neighborhood and feel they have no caring relatives, neighbors and friends to make Thanksgiving more than a daydream.
There are the male and female ex-prisoners who are still struggling to get accepted and reintegrated in a society that has all it takes to make life more meaningful for them.
There are the jobless, homeless and hungry persons who feel worthless, helpless and hopeless in a society that is arguably matchless in empathy and compassion.
There are the men and women who put their lives on the line to promote and defend our freedoms but are now living poorly and lamentably in our community.
To them, Thanksgiving Day is like any other day – full of fear, indignity, dejection, disease, lack and hurt.
To them, there is no Thanksgiving. The ceremony, the fanfare, the laughter, the priceless company of family and friends, and the sweet memories we create are only a matter of spontaneous imagination and wish.
So, what if you reach out and give them the heartfelt happiness and hope that will make them thank God and appreciate you this Thanksgiving?
What if you visit and support them in nearby emergency shelters, transitional housing facilities, nursing homes, prisons, abandoned buildings and street corners with a hand of reasoned and respectful fellowship?
Doing so will make your Thanksgiving refreshingly different – for, as I see it, there is no better happiness than that which comes from being your brother’s and sister’s keeper.
So, to your Thanksgiving, add some Helpgiving. It’s probably the best way to spice up your day.
Please, comment below if you want my ready help with your Helpgiving plans.