Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

Pulling up her hood, she shivered in the cold. Her hand felt the coins in her pocket. Eighty-five cents wouldn’t buy much, but at least she could be warm inside the store. 

She walked in behind a busily distracted woman clutching a long list. The woman grabbed a shopping cart and methodically paced the store aisles, crossing off each item as she went. She didn’t notice the hooded girl standing near the bakery.

Steering her cart into the checkout line, the cashier joked about the veritable feast within the woman’s mounded grocery cart. A curt nod met the cashier’s cheerfulness, so the clerk silently checked the rest of the items, before asking, “Would you like to donate to the food bank?”

“Not today.”  The woman snipped, as she ran her credit card through the machine. Making a call on her cell phone, she ignored the “Happy Thanksgiving” greeting from the cashier and briskly pushed her cart towards the exit.

The hooded girl approached the cashier with a bag of marked-down day-old rolls. Pulling out her coins, she was ten cents too short.

But the cashier bent down and retrieved a dime that seemed to be there for just this occasion. Smiling broadly, she said, “Look here! Now isn’t that something to be thankful for?” The girl smiled back and walked out holding her small contribution to the teen shelter’s Thanksgiving meal.

The poor, the homeless, the addicted, the outcasts, and the runaways will be gathered in shelters across our nation—sharing, of all things, a “Thanksgiving” meal. God honors the sacrifice of thanksgiving. But what does that really mean?

It means that in a season of pain, poverty, or plight, it’s a sacrifice to remain thankful. But when we are thankful—even for a cashier’s dime, a friendly smile, and a bag of rolls, it honors God. And when we honor God, we discover true thanksgiving—and that's where renewed hope begins.

He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors me. Psalm 50:23

Oh, and the rest of the story? The homeless teen graduated, and now has a busy life as a paralegal. But she always seems to find time to volunteer at her former shelter.

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