Forget the turkey and the stuffing, forget the apocryphal story of the Pilgrims and their native Americans dinner guests, try to even forget about the cranberry sauce and the pumpkin pie.
The real meaning of Thanksgiving is right there in its name.
In other words, giving thanks.
Thanksgiving is about giving thanks. It’s as simple as that.
Thanksgiving is the time when we are afforded the opportunity to stop what we’re doing, look at the bounty all around us, and take a moment to appreciate it all.
Of course, some years it’s easier to be thankful than others. Certainly when our families are sitting around the big table loaded with food it’s a whole lot easier to feel thankful than when we’re sheltering-in-place in onesies and twosies and wondering when our lives are going to return to some semblance of normalcy.
Certainly when our political system operated the way it should and our elections and subsequent transitions proceeded smoothly it was a whole lot easier to feel thankful than when almost half the country disagrees with the election results and the other half can’t figure out how the disillusioned could feel the way they do in the first place.
It was easier when we weren’t beset by a pandemic and didn’t have to be careful of everywhere we went and everyone we spent time with and could hug and kiss our family and friends and spend time out in public without worrying about our health or their health.
And it was certainly a lot easier when we believed that our government was looking out for us instead of operating under the demands of an entrenched system designed to systemically keep a percentage of our population from achieving their full potential.
I miss it all – the food, family, outings, travel, live music, and all the other things I took for granted just a few months ago. I miss the friends that I have lost to COVID and, even more than that, I feel for the losses their families have suffered with their passing.
Still, regardless of how these different situations have affected us, most of us still have a number of things to be thankful for. And perhaps now, when it’s so easy to bemoan what we’ve lost, is the best time to stop and take stock of what we truly do need to appreciate.
I hope that in this year of so much upheaval and uncertainty you can find joy in all the bounty in your own life. And if Thanksgiving is indeed about giving thanks, then I give thanks for having you to write these blog post for.