Gratitude Day 540

Tues., Dec. 8, 2020

Matthew 2:11 – When they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, they were overcome. Falling to the ground at his feet they worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure boxes full of gifts and presented him with gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

For the last number of years, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving has been labeled “Giving Tuesday.” This is a great tradition … but how about we carry it a bit further this Advent?

Let’s make every Tuesday a giving Tuesday. An opportunity to bring a smile, a little joy and bit of pick-me-up into someone else’s life.

Let’s be real. EVERYONE loves a little something extra special once in a while. Seriously … these little blessings of joy do not need to be big. Over-the-top. Difficult.

The best blessings of joy?

Something simple. Easy. But deeply special.

A couple weeks ago, I experienced a little gift of appreciation and all I can say is WOW! It was such a blessing to ME … maybe even more so than those who received the appreciation gifts.

Are you ready for the inspiration and the story? Good. I’m excited to share.

This school year has been anything but normal. School staff have gone above and beyond to make school somewhat “normal” for kids. Working at a school right now is not for the faint of heart.

Think of the extra cleaning. Arranging smaller groups of students vs. larger groups. Alternating playground time and spots so cleaning can happen in-between. With many schools offering online and hybrid options, teachers and staff are accommodating specific needs for various families. When a family needs to quarantine, there’s arranging for schoolwork and technology to be dropped off for families. With additional financial stress for many families right now, making sure kids get food is almost a full-time job right now.

Through my role of coordinating a weekend food program for the local school district where we live, I’ve heard the stories from school staff. The increase needs for school supplies, PPE, food, clothing and laundry services. When the school surveyed families for winter clothing needs, they were shocked with the response. Fortunately, local businesses, non-profit groups and individuals are helping provide Christmas gifts to families who might otherwise have a rather blue Christmas. Each time a need is raised, I am amazed to see folks step forward and find resources to assist families in need.

All this happens because school staff are willing to go above and beyond. They make time and space to care for students and families who find themselves struggling overnight. AND they make it happen seamlessly … when I know it’s anything but easy to juggle all the requests.

The group of volunteers who help coordinate our weekend food program decided we wanted to do just a little something to express our gratitude for ALL the school staff and what they are doing to service our local families. Because of COVID-19, what we could do became limited. We settled on providing two nice large M&M cookies individually packaged for each staff person. We contacted a local bakery and asked if they might partner with us in providing treats for school staff.

The delivery date was set. I knew exactly how many cookie packages needed to be delivered to each school building. Lyn, another volunteer, agreed to be a partner-in-crime in delivering these little bits of thanks and appreciation to the schools.

Our first stop was to the bakery to pick-up the cookies. Chris and Lori operate The Bakehouse. They are known for their scones but also bake muffins, cookies and other yummy goodies. Chris had a box filled with the individual boxes of cookies. They had been evasive about the compensation for the cookies. It became clear to me why as we picked up the cookies.

Chris and Lori had decided to donate all the cookies, packaging etc. A complete unexpected blessing, these bakers felt this was a great opportunity to show their appreciation for school staff as well … and decided to make this donation.

Believe me … their contribution made the whole donation even more special for everyone involved.

Lyn and I added “You are a superhero” stickers to the top of the packaging and then we had the super fun job of delivering the cookies.

The reaction?

More than we could have expected.

Staff so appreciative for a little container with two cookies. Profound thank you’s and choked up folks overwhelmed that someone just wanted to thank them for “doing their job.” While we were all wearing masks and it was impossible to see faces, there is no doubt in my mind everyone single person who saw their package of cookies had a smile on his or her face.

The day after the cookie delivery, I dropped off the weekend food bags for students. At each school building, I was thanked again and again for some simple cookies. Tears came to a woman’s eyes as she shared how a staff person told her that she might not have made it through the afternoon minus the cookies.

Lyn with Vicki and Mr. Hauser from our local elementary school … gladly receiving the cookie treats!

Folks – giving back isn’t rocket science. It doesn’t have to be some big and dramatic thing. It can be two cookies in a container with a superhero sticker. That’s all.

How can you bless a person who is a superhero right now? How might you show appreciation to someone who you know is going above and beyond? In this season when we often share gifts, how might you bring some joy and happiness into a person’s life with an easy and simple gift?

Please do not make it complicated. Or difficult. Or laborious. The magic is in keeping it simple and offering a blessing of appreciation … if only one cookie at a time.

For receiving more back when I try to give to someone else, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Dear God – We see so many people going above and beyond these days to create a sliver of “normal” for other folks. May we completely appreciate them and their giving. Place on our hearts ways we can honor them … and give back. Amen.

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