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Thanksgiving 2017

Posted by griffithd on November 22, 2017 at 4:45 PM

In America, we are about to enter into a time that in many parts of the world would be impossible to experience, let alone understand. This Friday will be black Friday, Monday will be Cyber Monday, and then it will be 25 days to Christmas. Billions, with a “B,” spending will be massive, and consumer debt will swell for the January credit card mailings.

As I reflect on what is undoubtedly ahead, I think about why this bothers me so. As we get ready to head to our daughter's house for Thanksgiving, I contrast my feeling for this November Thursday holiday with the season ahead. Why.

Well, there is the food and the football. There is the gathering of family and friends. There is a time to give thanks for what we have without the pressure of what we do not. For me, it is also the marker on the calendar that signals the start of winter. It is also a four-day break when I really need one.

I think my anxiousness also now comes from a different place than it might have five years ago when I started at the agency. The economic contrast between individuals in poverty and this season of commercial excess is now very sharp, very evident, on my radar. I would suggest that it needs to be on all our radars and not just now in this season and place.

Clearly, there is work to be done and long-term strategies to address poverty in America. I have written at length on this blog about the issues and what we and others are doing in this space. I want to call for a different action this season. Actually, I pray for it.

As you sit down at the table tomorrow and give thanks, I want you to contrast that experience with the thousands of individuals living on the streets in America, in shelters, in homes where this day is not marked with a large meal or family. I want you to think about the season ahead, and the contrast gets even more substantial. I want you to think about the middle of February and the difference of a warm home against one without heat.

From that contrast, I want you to do something about it. I want you to allocate some of what you will spend this holiday and send it to an organization, not necessarily ECS to be transparent, that you know works in this space, that stirs your soul, and has an impact. Give it directly and hold the agency accountable. Research a hands-on volunteer program and do it. Research a public policy issue that impacts the poor and advocate in the political process for positive change. Out of your abundance of time, treasure, and talent, you surely have some to give.

We can think about it, or we can do it. Surely we can afford it, and maybe, just maybe this season of peace, hope, and joy we can get back to the lessons of the carpenter from Bethlehem whose birth we celebrate.

“To whom much is given, much is expected. “ I agree.

Peace.Joy. And most of all, Hope.

Categories: Muddy Boots, Leadership, Griffith Thoughts

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