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What does it mean to “give thanks”? Is it a prayer before a meal… or a quiet moment of reflection to remember the gifts of this past year… or an opportunity to express appreciation to those who have touched your life? The answer is a robust- “Yes, to all of the above.” I hope that this Thanksgiving we take a moment to remember the good gifts of this past year. I hope that we take the time to appreciate the people God has placed in our lives and let them know what a gift they are. I hope that this Thanksgiving finds us with our heads bowed to thank the One who gives us all good gifts. The feast at the table should be just window dressing to the opportunities we will take to give thanks this week. Yet, as good and important as these kind expressions of gratitude are, Jesus teaches us that thanks-giving is more than just words. We are called to translate our words into action.
Enter Abraham… In June of 2020, Abraham’s world spun out of control. This vibrant 11-year-old began to experience an exhaustion that crippled him. The doctors soon diagnosed him with aplastic anemia- a rare, lifethreatening condition that occurs when the body does not produce enough new blood cells. Abraham would need a bone marrow transplant to save his life. The months that followed found this bubbly, active child with boundless energy transformed into a weak, fragile boy confined to a hospital bed. Thank God the bone marrow transplant was successful, giving Abraham new strength and hope for a future. Thanksgiving 2020 Abraham’s family had much to be thankful for!
Abraham’s doctors recommended him to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, that creates special opportunities for children with life threatening conditions. Children are asked what they “wish” for, and the Make-a-Wish Foundation does their best to make that wish come true. Among the top “wishes”: a trip to Disney World, an international vacation, a bedroom make-over, or a meeting with a celebrity. But Abraham had something much different in mind. He wanted to feed the homeless in his community. Before his illness, his family had started that mission, cooking, and serving hot meals to the homeless in the park near their home once a month. When Abraham was diagnosed, the family’s energies were necessarily focused on his care, so the mission sadly came to an end. Abraham wanted to begin that mission again, so he asked Make-a-Wish for a year of hot meals to be served to the homeless in the park near his home. That selfless wish was granted, and Abraham’s Table was born! On September 18, 2021, Abraham stood with his family and friends to pass out meals to those who came. At the end of that exhausting day he said, “The look on everyone’s faces really warms my heart.” This year, Abraham’s “wish” will be the answer to so many prayers. What an example of thanks-giving!
As I sit here writing, I am wondering how I might “give” thanks this year. Frederick Buechner wrote, “God calls you to the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Those words echo Aristotle, “At the intersection where your gifts, talents, and abilities meet a human need; therein you will discover your purpose.” Jesus taught, “Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me.” I wonder… where does the need of my community and the gifts that I have to offer meet? I am praying about that today… listening for where God needs me to be an answer to someone’s prayer. If you are wondering where your gifts might meet a need, Lenape Valley has a few opportunities to suggest:
Dry Goods for Barclay Farmer’s Market- bring groceries to LVC Christmas Outreach to Families- Donate to the Deacon’s Fund Books for Preschoolers- Drop at LVC by Dec. 12th Gifts for Baby Jesus- Cradle of Hope in Cheltenham- baby items by Christmas Eve
Luke Ministry- Support patient needs at Doylestown Hospital
Perhaps this week you will meet someone’s need with a kind word, a card, or a phone call. What will your “thanks-giving” be?
With you giving thanks.
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