Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.
A special meal with extended family, and sometimes others.
Football before and after lunch!
Laughter. Great conversation and storytelling.
None of the anxiety or stress of Christmas. . .though I must acknowledge that I've never been responsible for the meal or much of the preparation that goes along with making the day special.
And, a time of personal reflection about the quality of life and its many blessings, no matter what its troubles, challenges or worries.
Working with and among folks who make a life with only a fraction of my wealth and opportunity has taught me so much about gratitude. I've watched my poorest friends and acquaintances express almost unbounded gratitude for the simplest things. It is humbling and convicting to observe the penniless celebrate what appears to be so little.
All week we've seen people preparing for their special family meals, as they have come in and out of our centers, carrying away our canned food. Expressions of gratitude have filled our week already.
It is cold this morning. Thousands will come in out of this weather to share a meal with strangers, prepared by strangers. There is a bitter sweet dimension to this day, isn't there? Joy will fill the industrial-size dining halls where the urban poor will consume their mass meals. Gratitude will abound, along with some fear, well-founded anger, frustration and laughter.
I'm grateful for much today.
I'm also mindful and aware that, if I am truly grateful, I have much to do to make things more acceptable to those who have so little.