Thankful Giving / by Katie Brightbill

The holiday season begins today, and there are so many sweet memories to be made. Something I dearly appreciate when the holidays come is the beautiful spirit of giving. It is so fitting that a day has been created to celebrate thankfulness as the kickstart to a season filled with joy and memories.

One holiday comes to mind every year for me, with so much gratefulness. As a young teenager, my brother spent three years battling cancer. During one holiday celebration, he was rushed to the hospital for an infection. My family spent that Christmas at his bedside in a dismal hospital room, rather than in a warm and comfortable home filled with laughter and cheer.

BUT, what I remember about that day is not sadness or stress; rather, I recall the visitors he had to the hospital: generous people that we had never met came bearing gifts and songs, and lighting the pediatrics wing of the hospital with joy. These incredibly sick children received board games and stuffed animals and toys... and most importantly, smiles and love.

Those people are the kind of people you do not ever forget. They are the people who realize that thankfulness is more than simply enjoying their time with loved ones; it is also about sharing joy with those who may not have people there to love them. These lovely human beings took time from their cozy festivities to share with others who needed them more.

I am thankful. I am thankful for those I love and I am thankful for those that came into our lives that day, and made joyful memories from what could be incredibly painful moments, right when we needed them most.

I would be most grateful this year if my family and I can spend our holiday season with a deliberate selflessness, and that we would spend our time creating similar poignant and joyful moments for those who especially need that extra dose of love in their lives.

Happy Thanksgiving!