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While traveling through Dana Point, California, I stopped into a pizza shop hoping to get a bite to eat. As I placed my order and made my way to an empty booth, I started looking around the room. The walls were covered with old surfboards and vintage beach photographs. But one decoration caught my eye: a small “Thank You” card mounted in an elegant frame. As I looked closer, I realized why so much care had gone into this tiny decoration.
It was a “Thank you” card from former president George H.W. Bush.
The message was simple, acknowledging how much he enjoyed his visit to Dana Point and particularly pointing out how good the pizza was at this restaurant. But as I read it, I could see how this very small gesture was received by the owners of this shop. They’d taken it and placed it in a frame for everyone to appreciate.
That simple phrase “Thank you” is one of the most powerful sentiments in the human language. It’s one that transcends every culture and language. It’s a way of recognizing what another person has done for you, acknowledging that in some way, big or small – they’ve made your life better. But more than that, it’s an invitation to relationship. Nine times out of ten, the response you get from saying “Thank you” is “You’re welcome.”
For many of us, this holiday season means the stress of traveling long distances, cooking for a large number of relatives and friends and trying to make the budget stretch through to Christmas. But I think there’s one thing that we can all do this Thanksgiving that will have a lasting impact on our relationships, and it’s very simple: We can live a life of gratitude, and make the most out of every opportunity that we’re given. As Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:18.
From all of us here at GCI, I want to wish you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving.
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.