Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. In the early years of my career, I served as a congregational minister with responsibilities every Sunday—and many Saturdays—and so Thanksgiving was the only three-day weekend I had all year. Unlike the frantic pace of Christmas and New Years’, it was a slow holiday. Families gathered, took time to share a meal, watch some football and reflect on their blessings. One year was especially blessed as our oldest daughter was born on Thanksgiving weekend (Happy Birthday, Kris!).
We have a tradition at Thanksgiving dinner of asking each family member to share what he or she is most thankful for. It is often an awkward time as we go around the table and everyone articulates out loud what we are most grateful for. Thanksgiving is the time to consider life’s most precious treasures. What are yours?
This Thanksgiving season, despite (or, maybe because of) relentless news about ongoing scandals and deceptions out of Washington, impeachment hearings, the continued horrors of the crisis at our southern border, protests in Hong Kong and other cities around the world, a devastating UN report on climate change and a host of other scary dynamics, it is re-energizing to pause and take stock in those blessings we so often take for granted:
There are family and friends who make us feel special, strangers who dedicate time and talent to ease the lives of others, the bounties of the natural world, the simple pleasure in experiencing a child’s exuberant laughter, listening to an elder’s cherished stories, cooking a hearty meal for loved ones, emerging from patterns that have trapped you in destructive behavior, the excitement of plunging into a new venture, faithful friends who can share a lifetime of memories, appreciation for first responders who keep us safe.
Personally, I am grateful for YOU, dedicated readers of these posts. I may not be as popular as Kim Kardashian or Jennifer Lopez, but a couple hundred of you—week in and week out—take the time to read my thoughts and, often, respond with ideas and insights of your own. I am deeply grateful for you.
Not everyone is in a position to feel blessed on this day and it is our challenge to continue to be attentive to them, offering thoughts, prayers and concrete actions to those who are hungry, tired or incarcerated by forces beyond themselves or who do not feel safe in our world.
In the coming year, as the 2020 election draws ever nearer, there will be ample time to consider what ails our society and how we might heal our troubled planet. But, this Thanksgiving week, I invite you to pause from the weariness of the world, take a deep breath and reflect on all that is good in your life. Radiate joy. Say thank-you to someone who has done something special for you. And be a blessing to another.