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Being thankful on Thanksgiving

November 3, 2020

Thanksgiving is wish-making time. It only needs a wishbone with the hope of ending up with the larger portion of bone and lucky enough to make a wish.  

Yes, there is a bit more work to this holiday tradition. It is not as easy as wishing on a star or turning a horseshoe open side up. Finding a four-leaf clover is harder still.  

As a boy, I had to fight my brother over the wishbone in my family. I don’t remember if I ever won a wish, but if I did, it was likely one as frivolous as growing big enough to beat up my older brother.

Today, the world is a much bigger place with much bigger problems, especially in a COVID-19 pandemic, with no end in sight and no cure at hand.  

Thanksgiving Day, a genuine American holiday dating back to the Pilgrims and Native Americans, is about counting our many blessings as individuals, as families and as a nation when many problems seem poised to overwhelm us. It’s about finding the best of America in the worst of times. 2020 has been that.

Some, perhaps many, may find it hard to feel thankful this year, but Thanksgiving is an opportunity for those who believe in a higher power to remember our blessings and their source, to replenish and to renew our own best qualities: our faith, our vision, our resolve.

Some might think there’s nothing to be thankful for, but please remember this national holiday started in 1863, as the Civil War raged. In his proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln reminded Americans that even in the midst of “a cruel war of unequaled magnitude and severity,” there were reasons to give thanks.

Our latest war of unequaled magnitude and severity is the global, national and local battle against the coronavirus.

Heading into the holiday season, we are wishful for an end to the spread of the deadly disease, hopeful for a vaccination and cure soon and thankful for all the efforts to safeguard the health and safety of all ages.

Thanksgiving Day, which is rooted in this country’s earliest traditions, has historically been a reverent and joyful occasion that is relished by the powerful and powerless, the rich and the poor, the majority and minority, the religious and agnostic alike.

This is an authentic American holiday for all generations to pause, to reflect, to commune with friends and relatives, and to express our gratitude and collective blessings, past and present.

Let’s remember hope springs eternal. Let’s focus on our many blessings and be thankful in many ways and for many reasons as this year fades and a new year prepares to begin.

Despite everything else that may be going on in our challenging times, in our busy and sometimes complicated lives, we can pause on Thanksgiving Day — just to say thanks for fond holiday memories that life can bring by making a wish and breaking a traditional turkey wishbone at the holiday dinner.

It remains a 50-50 chance that you end up with the larger portion of the bone. If ending up with the short end, let’s wish that you will get yours.

This Thanksgiving, every Thanksgiving, there are many good reasons to celebrate. Dwell on those. And have a glorious holiday.

Finally, best wishes to all during the holiday season and beyond.

Just remember 2020 is coming to an end. Thank goodness!