Thanksgiving is a time when things fill up. Our houses fill up with family and friends. Our stomachs fill up with food. Churches fill up with people. Food banks and the cupboards of our Community Outreach fill up with donations of food. Maybe even for a moment, our hearts fill up with a sense of gratitude, calm and peace.
This is what saying thank you does. Being grateful makes us generous. When we acknowledge what we have and say thank you for it, there is a natural response of generosity. Something inside of us knows that the appropriate next step is to share what we have. This is how Jesus lived his life. He lived with gratitude to his Father for all that he had been given. Out of his gratitude came generosity, a generosity so profound that he ultimately gave his very life for us.
Thanksgiving invites us to remember that there are a lot of places in the world that need to be filled up. There are empty stomachs that need to be filled with food through our generous sharing and our efforts to eliminate hunger in the world. Empty lives that are waiting to be filled with compassion and care. Places of violence and conflict in need of being filled with reconciliation. Places of hate and prejudice ready to be filled with understanding. Places of fear yearning to be filled with courage. Places of hurt longing to be filled with healing.
Once again homes, churches, food banks, hearts and stomachs will fill up on this Thanksgiving because for a day we said thank you together. If this can happen on one day of gratitude, imagine what a daily thank you could do.
We do not have to work on being generous. All we have to do is say thank you and things fill up.