2016-11-24 / Editorial

Beyond the Headlines

Putting the ‘Thanks’ into Thanksgiving
by Rep. Justin Chenette

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” - William Arthur Ward

The holidays couldn’t have gotten here fast enough. I feel like we need them now more than ever this year. The snow, not so much.

Yes, there can be stressful parts. Running around frantically getting deals for the gifts for your family and friends. Sneaking in the wrapping of those gifts late at night. Last minute trips to the grocery store to get that cranberry sauce you forgot to pick up. Figuring out if you are hosting, traveling or going to someone else’s place for a celebration. Need I go on?

But there are hidden meanings in the holiday season that are right under our noses. Sometimes we just need a gentle reminder about what is really important this time of year.

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day stresses, challenges and weight of routine. Reflection isn’t always something we take time to do. I like to use Thanksgiving as a mirror to reflect on who I appreciate in my life and what brings me the most joy. As someone whose elected role involves debating issues, I like to have some time to reflect on the positives. We should stop and take a look at the lives we live and be appreciative we have a home in the country we do. Appreciative of the people who helped us get here. Appreciative for the courage in ourselves to be true to who we are in following our dreams to whatever success means to you at this point in your life.

Yes, you can do all this while eating our beloved breaded-stuffed poultry friend while planning your Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopping adventures. There are many people in our own community, however, who are going without. Maybe they are a senior who lives by themselves or a family who can’t afford a big celebration. No matter the circumstance, we probably know of someone who could use a hot meal this week.

Once again, our community rises to the occasion. There are dedicated folks who put on Thanksgiving spreads free of charge to anyone who needs it. It’s a prime example of the caring spirit of others and for some this holiday season means taking time away from their own families to help others. That level of sacrifice and service, makes me thankful for living in the area we do.

In Old Orchard Beach, the Old Orchard Beach United Methodist Church is serving dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 1 pm. Proof of residence required. Located at 2 Fountain Avenue, Old Orchard Beach. Delivery available for homebound individuals 207-934-5553.

In Saco, the Most Holy Trinity Parish Hall at 271 Main St. will have its 18th annual Thanksgiving dinner from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Delivery will be ready as food is available: 284-8035.

In Biddeford, a Thanksgiving meal is served 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Second Congregational Church, 19 Crescent St.

Please pass along to those in your life that need a hand, a hot meal or even a simple conversation with a friendly face this Thanksgiving. You are the catalyst to joy and happiness in your life not just for yourself in your everyday attitude, but to bring light to those around you through your words and actions.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Justin Chenette is finishing out his second term as state representative for Saco District 15 and is senator elect for Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Hollis, Limington and Buxton. Outside the Legislature, he is owner of Chenette Media LLC, a multimedia public relations company, and is the president/CEO of the Saco Bay Center of Civic Engagement, a nonprofit service organization. Follow updates at www.justinchenette.com, Facebook.com/ JustinChenette, and Twitter.com/ JustinChenette.

Return to top