21 November 2012

Present Blessings

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.  I like it because of what it isn’t as much as for what it is.  Thanksgiving lacks the consumerism and commercialism that plague most other holidays.  There is no gift-giving and gift-receiving angst (is this what he or she wants / needs?  is it the right size?  color?  am I spending enough?  too much?  Or:  I didn’t get you / your kids anything and I’m not prepared to reciprocate.).  Thanksgiving is the least awkward of the holidays and is blind to religious divides and cultural gaps. 

This holiday is uniquely North American, born of gratitude for better-than-expected results from a work ethic that we cannot even imagine today.  It celebrates a time in our nation’s history when our potential was yet to be achieved, yet to even be outlined.  Our nation’s greatest achievement, the Constitution, was a mere dream, still too abstract even to foment an idea.  And this holiday grew from a call for help that was heeded and granted, from hands reaching across cultures to prevent failure.  Lately, reaching across divides to help accomplish what is best for all has been vilified.  But this concept of helping one another for the greater good is one of the strongest, best foundations of our nation.

As you gather around the table with family and friends, reflect on those less fortunate than you.  No matter how dark your days may be, there are many worse off than you.  Draw strength from the words of Charles Dickens, who saw more abject poverty in his lifetime than most of us can fathom:   Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some.

Thanksgiving is a time to consider all that is good and pure and right, which is often more than we realize.  Whatever feast is piled upon your table, I hope that your elbows are crowded between those you love, that your glass is never empty.  May your heart be filled with love and gratitude for all that has been, and all that is: here, now. 

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