How fitting that December 3 is known as “Giving Tuesday” or “National Giving Day” and that it falls five days after Turkey Day, following Thanksgiving Week.
Americans have been a grateful and generous people throughout our history. It seems intuitive to our tribe to be thankful, as almost every American comes from an immigrant family originally, typically coming to our great country with almost nothing except hope, and a deep desire for freedom and a fresh start.
One of my ancestors came over on the Mayflower as an indentured servant, earning his freedom in the New World over time.
On the trip from England, 400 years ago, he dove into a wild sea to rescue a fellow Pilgrim who had fallen into the ocean. May his courageous, selfless example inspire his descendants, both biologically and metaphorically, to model his act of service to one life less fortunate.
Generosity comes naturally to those found in the great American melting pot, flowing out of deep gratitude for the privilege of living in a free, strong, independent nation.
However, recently our nation has become more divided than any time since the Vietnam War era, cracks forming in national unity due to conflicts over culture, religion, politics, gender and gender identity, and a host of other issues. How to best celebrate our gratitude for our country and its people this day?
We can make a productive beginning by focusing on the positive and acting accordingly.
We are as prosperous as we have ever been as a nation, and there is so much to be thankful for, so many reasons to be generous, and such great causes that demand support for those Americans down on their luck, struggling with problems and issues that can seem overwhelming at times.
Whether national or local charities that feed, clothe and shelter the least fortunate, provide aid and comfort to widows, orphans and the most vulnerable in our communities, there are so many ways to make a compelling impact for the common and individual good.
Homeless shelters, adoption agencies, food banks, both secular and faith-based, are constantly in need of private sector and non-profit generosity, especially this time of year.
Even random acts of small kindness can warm a cold soul in need of encouragement.
The Salvation Army, local churches, scholarship programs for children of those we have lost in foreign wars, and Prison Fellowship all come to mind as avenues to support those desperately in need of hope during this holiday season.
I trust the generosity of America will rise as never before this year. The force of American compassion and charity is epic when we all come together as one people to do our part.
Divided we make little impact, together what we can accomplish to bring hope and joy this week is large enough to be beyond measure.
I’m thankful again this year for the opportunity to play a small part in America’s ongoing journey to provide an unparalleled, historic example of what a generous people and great nation are supposed to look like.
Myles Standish and the Pilgrims would be proud if they could see the cornucopia of goodwill and generosity they authored so long ago carried out in the actions and goodwill of the heirs to their legacy.
God bless America, this year and every year of freedom yet to come.