As the end of the year approaches, I am reminded that, as an orthodontist, I have had the unique privilege of creating some of the most beautiful, confident smiles over the past 20+ years. I get to work with healthy kids, teens and adults who leave my office with big, beautiful smiles. It’s a privilege that pushes me to deliver consistent, conservative expertise to those I serve, and a commitment to excellence and compassion.
However, as the Christmas season is in full stride, I am reminded that not everyone is smiling. Too many are without the basics: safe homes, nutrition, family support and health. Young people go to sleep at night hungry and without the healthcare or dental care that so many of us take for granted. We all experience a taste of brokenness in this world; yet, it’s often what we actually do with life’s challenges that can lead us to true thankfulness.
Pastor Tim Keller writes, “It’s one thing to be grateful. It’s another to give thanks. Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.” Last year, one of my sons was diagnosed with cancer and came home from college to be treated at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It was like a gut punch to our family from out of nowhere. Through the kind encouragement of so many, and the meals, gifts, and prayers of friends, we have leaned into gratitude in a whole new way, seeing God’s provision in every step as he transitioned from diagnosis, through treatment, and into remission. In leaning toward gratitude, thanksgiving overflowed; and suffering produced a harvest like no other.
Here are three challenges I put forth for all of us in Collierville as we experience the season and move into next year:
- Let’s lean into a posture of counting our blessings, whatever our story, whatever our hurts, whatever our challenges. As C.S. Lewis once said, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” A simple gratitude list cannot help but lead us into a season of renewal for all the good things which God has freely given.
- Let’s allow this season to move us into giving back in some small way. We are called to be good stewards of what has been given to us, exactly where we are. Oftentimes our service goes unnoticed, perhaps unappreciated; however, we can rest in the knowledge that our giving is helping improve the lives of those around us.
- Let’s become champions of loving well and supporting other charitable works. For my family, the next season is about giving back to St. Jude and others, both monetarily and with our time. It’s amazing that St. Jude is right here in our own backyard, standing as a beacon of hope to families from all over the world devastated by cancer. There are countless other Charities that are in need of volunteers and financial support. I challenge us all to find one close to our hearts and jump in head first.
I have never been more grateful for the gift of life, for my wife and three boys, for my son’s healing from cancer, for those who walk through life with me, for my faithful staff, and above all, God’s amazing provisions! This season, may you also celebrate your blessings and seek ways to give back. Southern Orthodontic Specialists is all about making smiles. We welcome and invite you to become partners in this cause.
“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” – Mother Teresa
Hunter Harrison, DDS, MS
Southern Orthodontic Specialists, P.C.
Southaven office| 662.349.0777
Collierville office | 901.853.9934