I’ve always thought of Thanksgiving as the most stable American holiday. It precludes any religious fights at the dinner table. People more or less agree on the menu — turkey and lots of it. It doesn’t have the same emotional baggage of Christmas or New Year’s Eve. And I’m guessing that most of us are even going to take a break from talking about the recent Presidential election.
Thanksgiving is the day to be, well, to be thankful.
Yet like most holidays it also becomes a marker. Last year life was this way. This year it is another way. No holiday, including the benign holiday of Thanksgiving, is immune from the vagaries of life. I’m thinking of the many people around the country for whom life has changed this past year. I think of families in my church who have recently lost loved ones. (I have two memorial services next weekend.) I think of people of the verge of a life change. (I’m conducting a wedding on Saturday.) I’m thinking of families coping with loss or change or both this year.
The genius of gratitude, of course, is that you aren’t merely grateful when life turns out well; you’re grateful for whatever is presented to you. This is why gratitude transforms everything, including the inevitable losses that touch our lives. A sure way to have a happier life is to rediscover gratitude. It’s that simple. The more grateful we are, the more alive we feel
I wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving. More importantly, I invite you to Take a Breath, and experience gratitude on this most important of holidays. Perhaps for many of you, today is simply a repeat from last year. Yet I suspect for some of you, myself included, life is different in 2016. Yet gratitude, gratitude, gratitude . . . in all things gratitude.