Who says you need a turkey and all the traditional sides or every loved one around your table to have a great day filled with laughter and gratitude? Who says you need to meet on the fourth Thursday in November?
Not the out-of-the-box Burlesons. No sirreee, not this year!
We celebrated all God’s good gifts a day early with a mid-week meal of my favorite steak expertly grilled by Chef Carl, followed by a family quiz, Pictionary and a movie.
Doing our dinner the day before, made the actual Thanksgiving Day—very relaxed, actually. So a new tradition joins our untraditional repertoire.
And, in the spirit of Black Friday when many of you enjoyed a gastronomical repeat of the previous day’s menu, I am reposting a fan favorite:
Noticing Your Necessary People
by Karen Ehman
My two small children huddled together, excitedly giggling with glee. It wasn’t Christmas or Easter. It was a different holiday — Mr. Brown Day.
Let me explain.
One day, my husband and I encouraged our kids to choose a “necessary person” — someone who helps us get life done each week — and then think of a creative way to thank them. They came up with the same person — Mr. Brown. And the idea? Mr. Brown Day!
Mr. Brown was our mailman. But he delivered more than just bills and packages. He distributed smiles to those along his route — never too busy to chat with a lonely widow or ask a youngster about his Little League game.
We took the kids shopping for trinkets for Mr. Brown — a squirt gun for him to use to ward off the neighborhood dogs and a gift certificate to the local Dairy Queen, so he could take Mrs. Brown out for a “fancy dinner.” We baked cookies and poured lemonade. Then, we hid inside our front door and waited with party blowers and confetti.
“Surprise!” we shouted as we threw open the door. “It’s Mr. Brown, best mailman in town! Today is officially Mr. Brown Day!”
To say he was surprised would be a gross understatement. He wanted to know what all the ruckus was about. My daughter told him we had been studying in the Bible about not just saying we love people but really showing them. And she and her brother had chosen him! He enjoyed the refreshments, gave each child a hug and then went on his way with an added spring in his step and confetti still in his hair.
A week later he stood on my porch and said, “I have to tell you, I am still not over Mr. Brown Day.” His voice cracking, he continued, “You know, I have been a mailman on this street for 33 years, and no one has ever done anything like what your family did for me. Sure, people remember me at Christmas. But no one has ever reached out to me on a random Tuesday afternoon to say they appreciate what I do. Thank you for Mr. Brown Day.”
Noticing the necessary people in our lives isn’t just a hobby. It isn’t just something we engage in so we can snap a picture, upload it on social media and have everyone elect us humanitarian of the year. We don’t do it to boast. Or to get a blessing in return. We show love to the necessary people in our lives because when we do, we acknowledge the fact that all humans are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).
Every day and every week, our lives naturally intersect with many people, all of whom bear God’s image. When we look beyond ourselves — and beyond the flaws and quirks of others — we see God. We have an opportunity not only to greet these necessary people face-to-face, but to witness God’s very image in them.
Each person in their roles demonstrates some aspect of God’s character and His care for us. Our hairstylist can note the very hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30)! Our carpet cleaner makes our carpet as white as snow (Psalm 51:7). (Well, except for that one pesky grape juice stain!) Our medical professionals help us live, breathe and have our being (Acts 17:28). Yes, everywhere we look we see reflections of God’s creative genius and His loving care in the people who serve us.
Our lives can take on new meaning and be an exciting adventure if we stop to notice these necessary people. As we recognize them as image-bearers of God Himself, we will be more cognizant not only to thank them for their service, but to do something to encourage them as well.
Which “necessary person” will you bless today? I hear there’s a great sale on confetti this week.
Father, thank You for the people You have placed in my life that serve me faithfully each week. When I see these image-bearers, may I also see You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Rooted in TRUTH: I thank my God every time I remember you. Philippians 1:3 (NIV) So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 (NLT) …in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)
Growing in LOVE: Survey your life for a moment. Who are the necessary people in your life? Take time this week to thank at least one of them with a kind word, small gesture or even your own confetti shower of love. For more ideas for reaching out and loving others, order a copy of Karen Ehman’s book Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World.
Listen and Watch:
(originally posted on 11/27/21)
The mailman story is very dear and it really does make me think about who I want to a acknowledge and even honor. Such a good reminder.
Thank you for your encouraging message.