It’s no secret around my house that I love the holidays. From pre-Thanksgiving through the first of the New Year, I have decorations, music, ideas, plans and, so far, the energy to make them happen. I also celebrate a milestone birthday this year among all the other festivity. My home now has bright fall leaves in oranges, golds, rusts, reds and yellows, although they are silk and not real. They are carefully nestled among pumpkins, gourds, nuts and other similes of fall. I love the time of the year with cooler days, bright sunshine, the smells and aromas, the gathering of friends, family and neighbors, the food we cook and share, and the brilliant colors of the season.
This morning, I walked to the mailbox to place two greeting cards inside for the postwoman to pick up on her rounds, and when I put my hand in the box, I felt something there. Having read an article recently about a snake that mysteriously crawled into (or was carefully placed into) a rural mailbox, I was a bit startled for a moment. Stepping back and looking, I saw a bright orange envelope. Now, don’t tell the U.S. Postal Service, but I think my husband, Ted, might have broken the law. He had placed a beautiful greeting card inside addressed to me. Ted knows I have a ritual where I walk out our long drive, get the mail each day, and muse over the parts I like and hand him the ones I don’t. He knows when I hand him an envelope or more, he has new bills to pay.
I was enchanted and my spirits were lifted. I had a prize. I love to get surprises, and I enjoy things that still come by mail.
I carefully opened the card and found inside a beautiful Thanksgiving Day greeting. The colored leaves on the outside were designed in such a fashion that they stood out from the card itself with a 3D effect. It was a small gift, but one I will treasure. With all of the cares and concerns of this life, including work, health, our homes, children and grandchildren, finances, caring for those who are ill, our military folks, and those who are hurting for so many reasons I have not named, that one little card was an antidote to anxiety, concern and pain. Receiving it lifted my spirits to a new height.
As I read the words again and again, and saw Ted’s signature and greeting, I wondered when he had slipped away from me to buy the card, how he had picked the perfect one to suit me, and even why he had done it. I carefully placed it on our dining room table amidst my fall decorations and began to think how very important little things are to each of us. Some might never admit the value of a little note, a telephone call, a quick e-mail or for me, opening that mailbox and reaching in to find a surprise rather than a bill to pay.
I challenge each reader today to find some small way to express your love and appreciation to those in your life or for those with whom you work every day. I can assure you from life’s experiences that everyone you know carries some type of burden. They may not discuss it freely or talk about it openly, but it is there. What little act of kindness can you administer during this happy Thanksgiving? For many, the gift of time, just spending a few moments with someone who is not as busy as you are at the moment, giving the gift of yourself, sharing something you already have, or simply stopping by to say sincerely you care can change a mood, and in some cases, a life. I firmly believe we honor God when we care for our fellow men and women.
My heart is filled with thanksgiving for just a few of my favorite things today. Pretty cards like I received, good music that I enjoy, a great book to read, a car that operates correctly, a home to live in that no one is likely to take from me, the smell of freshly mowed grass, a cake that turns out better than expected, a photograph that brings back good memories, or the peace of God in my heart and life. I love the smell of apples and cinnamon, bright colors, soft, warm clothing from the dryer, a blooming flower or bush, water, communication and sunshine.
To change our Thanksgiving season, let’s all take time to be truly grateful for the big things and the little things God has graced us with over the year. If we harbor gratitude in our hearts and lives, we leave little room for anger and strife. Happy Thanksgiving 2012.
Brenda Cannon Henley is an award-winning journalist and writer living on the Southeast Texas Gulf Coast. Having enjoyed more than four decades in ministry, Brenda shares her columns with our readers and works with churches and faith-based programs nationwide. She can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.