Do You Give and Receive With Thanks?

It’s November! 2020 or not, it is November. This month, we Americans (for the most part and to some extent) will celebrate Thanksgiving.

One thing I have been thankful for lately is the increasing popularity of a month of thanks on social media. Day after day, community reminders help my heart remember to give thanks for so many, many gifts. Together we are thankful for who God is (good, patient, wise, generous, merciful, steadfast, almighty…and we could go on and on…) and what He has done. 

Then, in less than a week, we look forward to the beginning of the celebration of Advent. An opportunity for special, sustained focus on the greatest gift of all. God with us, Immanuel. Two months of intentional thanksgiving in a row. Wow!

It occurred to me that these two months are merciful in preparing my heart for a time of much giving and receiving of gifts. Yes, Christmas is coming, and the traditional response to receiving the greatest gift involves generous, joyful giving of gifts. For better or worse, the cycle continues.

So…the question is:

Am I preparing my heart for giving and receiving gifts? It is a continuous process, not a place I arrive and never leave. This thankfulness is not even something I need to limit to two months of the year. It’s a perspective that needs constant maintenance.

  • Am I giving with thanks? Is the gift an overflow out of abundance I have received, not out of need or obligation or any other selfish motivation? Am I checking the list off as I shop to get it done or to bless the ones I love as I have been blessed?
  • Am I receiving with thanks? Am I mindful of the generosity of both the giver and the Giver, not distracted from a thankful attitude by a shiny gift? Do I just want to clean everything up and go home, or am I thankful in this moment for this loving gesture?

It’s a wonderful time of the year, yes, as long as my heart is thankful. May it ever be.

Consider: “Love the Home You Have”

In Love the Home You Have: Simple Ways to…Embrace Your Style, Get Organized, Delight in Where You Are, Melissa MichaelsĀ gives a fresh perspective on designing and maintaining a welcoming, orderly home. If you are not naturally detailed and don’t live to clean, you may find inspiration in her story and the Clean-Enough House.

Here are two excerpts:

To make appropriate decisions, we often have to sacrifice one thing for another, but at least we have guidelines to help us make the best decisions for this time and place…It is freeing to live within your means, to have boundaries around your time, and to focus on the bigger picture of your life as you make daily decisions for the home.

Our refuge is the one safe place where people are most likely to love and understand us even on our bad days. But if we are in the habit of filling our home with negativity, complaining, disrespect, selfishness, and laziness, the beauty we are trying to create will take a hit. Giving the best of ourselves to those we love at home changes the playing field. We change the atmosphere of our house by changing the tone of our words and setting the example for our home’s love language.

These books are set here as possibilities for you to explore. Posts and links are not endorsements or paid publicity.