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Walking Our Faith: Giving this Thanksgiving

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
Walking Our Faith

 

I am lucky enough to write two newspaper columns for the Summit Daily News. I write this column on faith every week, and I write a column about food every other week.

In this week’s food column, I did something a bit strange: I recommended that instead of cooking the Thanksgiving recipes I had provided, people save them for another occasion and order from one of our local restaurants for Thanksgiving dinner.

Because I believe in walking my talk, I confessed that although I will be cooking a simple dinner for myself on Thanksgiving, I have ordered a chocolate pecan bourbon pie from La Française Bakery on Main Street in Breckenridge.

I had intended to write this week’s faith column about the importance of giving thanks. Thanksgiving is always the perfect occasion to talk about gratitude and counting our blessings in all circumstances. During our most difficult times, counting our blessings is essential.

I write a daily gratitude list of five items because it forces me to slow down and notice the beauty in my life and how much I don’t notice at all. It reminds me that God always provides, especially the things I take for granted.

The act of writing the list, whether it is the time it takes or the physicality of putting pen to paper, brings me a measure of happiness that I wouldn’t have by simply thinking of these items.

As I thought about the pie I had ordered, it occurred to me that this year I would like to give my thanks away.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:11

I feel so blessed to call Breckenridge my home. But this week especially, I want to make a point of noticing and thanking the local businesses and employees who make Summit County a beautiful place to live, not only because of its natural beauty, but also the kindness and generosity we encounter every day.

We are entering a deeper level of COVID-19 restrictions as we concurrently enter a busy holiday week. This will inconvenience our visitors who have spent a lot of money to join us for the holidays. It’s going to put additional strain on parents who are trying to hold down full-time jobs while their children are out of school. This week Terese Keil and Thanksgiving To-Go will pass out 400 gift cards to help families in need enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner.

“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” — Hebrews 13:1-2

I hope you’ll join me this week in extending small acts of kindness to the people who make our community a great place to live.

Many of our local businesses will be impacted by the heightened restrictions that limit the number of people who can be in their stores at one time, so every bit of business will be precious.

Please spend some of your holiday dollars with local businesses. You will not only be buying a unique Colorado gift, you will be supporting the families that stand behind these businesses.

As you head to the grocery store or stop by a restaurant to pick up your Thanksgiving dinner, please take a moment to say “thank you” to the cashier and the wait staff. Look them in the eye and wish them a happy Thanksgiving.

And I wouldn’t mind if you bought a cup of coffee for the person standing behind you in line at the coffee stand.

“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.” — 1 Thessalonians 3:12

So many people will not be able to travel this Thanksgiving and will dearly miss spending the holiday with their families. That includes me.

I canceled my flight to Florida to visit Mom and then canceled dinner plans with friends in Breckenridge because we are all very concerned about keeping one another safe this holiday.

That concern, that respect for one another, is another way of giving thanks and saying “thank you.” We do it by wearing our masks and keeping our dinner gatherings to only those in our household.

But rather than seeing this as a sacrifice, let’s see it as a celebration of those we love and those who make our community so special.

And if by chance you are reading this column somewhere far from our snowy mountain community, I hope you will adopt the same spirit of giving thanks in your community.

Let’s spread love, not germs, this Thanksgiving week. God bless you for your generosity.

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at suzanne@suzanneelizabeths.com.

 


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