Just what, when Thanksgiving arrives on Thursday, shall we give thanks for?
To begin with, the obvious.
We give thanks for our family and our loved ones. No less than this, we give thanks for our loved ones who are no longer with us, for having been part of our lives and remaining in our hearts.
We give thanks for our sustenance, for the fact that we have food to nourish us and roofs to protect us from the wind, heat and cold. We know from the horrible images emanating from Ukraine and Ethiopia, these gifts are not universal.
We give thanks for the privilege of residing in a country that cherishes many freedoms — of expression, of worship, of speech, of the right to pursue happiness — and for those who are willing to defend and uphold those rights, including those in uniform and those who stand by our ballot boxes. We know from the suppression of freedom from Hong Kong to Iran that the gift of freedom is not universal.
We can also offer gratitude for some things that might not be so obvious.
We can be thankful for experiencing the warm light of August that transforms into the colorful glory of October that eases into the subtle and cool reflection of November.
For the loving eyes of a child.
For the friendly or encouraging word of a stranger, or for the response of that stranger when we offer a friendly or encouraging word.
For the dog or the cat who snuggles up to us on a snowy night.
For the beauty of a musical note, the inspiration of a well-written passage of literature, the magic in a deftly executed painting.
For the comfort and wisdom of Scripture, for the meditative insight and holiness of prayer and for the love of tradition.
For life itself.
Thanksgiving Day will last only 24 hours and much of that time will be spent consuming the feast or watching a football game or reconnecting with relatives. There simply will not be enough time to give thanks for all that we can and should.
Let us do our best.
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