It’s been a long, long time since the celebration of the colonists, Lincoln’s many national Thanksgivings during the Civil War or the hubbub caused by FDR declaring the third Thursday of November Thanksgiving to add one more week of shopping to the holiday season in hopes of stimulating more spending during the Great Depression – and the subsequent law passed that split the difference by naming the fourth Thursday of each November as a national holiday, which sometimes meant it was the last and sometimes next to last Thursday in the month.
Thanksgiving has changed over the years, but at the heart of it is the message that remembering the good, what has gone right, what brings us comfort and hope – that is worth remembering and celebrating.
I woke up on this Thanksgiving thinking of a good friend who is saying goodbye to her father. From this day forward, Thanksgiving and the loss of her father will be intermingled. I thought of my own father and how much I would like to spend today sitting beside him in comfortable silence. And I thought of all the blessings I’ve known this year – a roof over my head, a family that loves me, friends who enrich my life in so many ways.
Gratitude doesn’t take away the difficulties, but it most certainly changes how our circumstances affect us. I find myself filled with gratitude today for all the blessings I’ve known and continue to enjoy, and so, despite the loss of this past year or the difficulties it held, I am grateful for all of it.