For those who are not exactly thankful at Thanksgiving.

My mom staunchly dislikes November. It’s the month for her that holds the most painful memories. The month we lost our house. The month our Dad was hospitalized with life-threatening cirrhosis of the liver. The month when the dozen or so of us had to find a place to live with 2 weeks notice. The month they repossessed our belongings. The month she thought she would lose everything.

It’s also the month, though, where her siblings counseled and tended to her. It’s also the month where God provided a house for rent just a mile down the road. (Never mind that there were no stairs and it had to be heated with coal and was barely big enough for our vast family.) It’s also the month the church and local community came together to care for us—with clothing, furniture, painting and shoveling coal for the winter.

Ironically, this same month, November, is the month many of us set aside to give thanks. Whether it’s a 30-day-gratitude-challenge on Facebook, or the mandated “I’m thankful for…” conversation we have over ginormous Turkeys, face it, we probably give more thanks in November than in any other month.

So what about all those people who are gagging over your blessings? Who can’t bear to read another gratitude post of yours on Facebook? What about those people who hate November because it is HARD? What about those people who lost a loved one with a birthday this month, or it’s their first holiday without the person they love? What about those who are in a hospital and can’t travel over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house, or are entrenched in the mire of chemotherapy?

What if to some people Thanksgiving just means loss?

I hate to be Debbie Downer. I do love your grateful hearts and watching you count your blessings. (Let’s do that for more than just November,okay?)

But I am also asking you to be thinking of those people.

This Thanksgiving, take a look around and see where the hurt and need is, and don’t just be grateful that you’re not in that place, reach out. Extend an invitation to your holiday table—there’s ALWAYS ROOM FOR ONE MORE, just ask my mom. Make a phone call and let someone know you’re thinking of them. Invite someone to join you for leftovers on Friday, or shopping on Saturday. Text an encouraging bible verse, send a flower arrangement for “no reason”, deliver a cup of coffee and stay for a conversation. Share that extra pie. Goodness knows we don’t need three pies for seven people!

Remember, it’s not about you.

And it’s not about your perfectly set table with plenty of elbow room for all or your beautifully browned, Instagram-worthy turkey.

Thanksgiving should be about loving people who need you to remind them there are things in the world to actually be thankful for.

Want to learn more about loving people well who are facing loss? Sarah Beckman’s book Alongside: A Practical Guide for Loving Your Neighbor in their Time of Trial is available now for pre-order at your favorite online bookseller!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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