Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

New York Times
The Thanks We GivePublished: November 25, 2004

It's not the turkey alone we're grateful for. Not the cranberry sauce or the stuffing or even the pumpkin pie. Some of the people seated at the table are strangers - friends of friends, cousins of in-laws - and some are almost desperately familiar, faces we live and work with every day.
In any other week, today would merely be Thursday and the gathering of all these people - the cooking and serving and cleaning - a chore. But today it doesn't feel that way. The host - perhaps it's you - stands up and asks that we give thanks, and we do, each in our own way. And what we're thankful for is simply this, the food, the shelter, the company and, above all, the sense of belonging.
As holidays go, Thanksgiving is in some ways the most philosophical. Today we try not to take for granted the things we almost always take for granted. We try, if only in that brief pause before the eating begins, to see through the well-worn patterns of our lives to what lies behind them. In other words, we try to understand how very rich we are, whether we feel very rich or not. Today is one of the few times most Americans consciously set desire aside, if only because desire is incompatible with the gratitude - not to mention the abundance - that Thanksgiving summons.
It's tempting to think that one Thanksgiving is pretty much like another, except for differences in the guest list and the recipes. But it isn't true. This is always a feast about where we are now. Thanksgiving reflects the complexion of the year we're in. Some years it feels buoyant, almost jubilant in nature. Other years it seems marked by a conspicuous humility uncommon in the calendar of American emotions.
And this year? We will probably remember this Thanksgiving as a banquet of mixed emotions. This is, after all, a profoundly American holiday. The undertow of business as usual seems especially strong this year. The shadow of a war and misgivings over the future loom in the minds of many of us. Most years we enjoy the privacy of Thanksgiving, but this year, somehow, the holiday feels like part of a public effort to remember and reclaim for ourselves what it means to be American.
That means giving thanks for some fundamental principles that should be honored every day of the year in the life of this nation - principles of generosity, tolerance and inclusion. This is a feast that no one should be turned away from. The abundance of the food piled on the table should signify that there is plenty for all, plenty to be shared. The welcome we feel makes sense only if we also extend it to others.


At 9:43 PM, Blogger Arevanye said...

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