On this Thanksgiving, the table will be full and inviting as always but the prospect of very hard times to come is at the back of many of our minds.
We’ll enjoy each other’s company today. We will declare our gratitude for all the blessings we’ve received – and we should.
We’ll enjoy the smell of turkey in the oven, we’ll feast on delicious stuffing, and we’ll savor the lightest fluffiest mash and relish delicious cranberries and take pleasure in the bouquet and taste of warm apple and pumpkin pie. There will be plenty to go around, as always.
But this is a difficult Thanksgiving. The horizon is clouded. What seems likely is that in the months and, perhaps years ahead, many of us will lose jobs, lose investments, lose the prospect of the futures we’ve worked and saved for…I hope I’m wrong.
It is possible that we’re at a low point in the business cycle, that the economy will rebound, that the recession will be short-lived. No one knows. But most of us who work for a living are scared. We’ve seen enough to know we’ve not seen this before.
We are thankful today. What matters most is the support and company of family and friends, the joy that comes from a deep faith in God and the hope that lies ahead. In these times, we need to reflect more deeply on the meaning of giving thanks.
During the Great Depression President Franklin Roosevelt said, “The future of many generations of mankind will be greatly guided by our acts in these present years. We hew a new trail. Let us then on the day appointed offer our devotions and our humble thanks to Almighty God and pray that the people of America will be guided by Him in helping their fellow men.”
So as difficult as it maybe today or tomorrow or the day after – someone is worse off than you. Someone may need a little help or your time or your ears. You can help without giving money. So in these times remember to appreciate what you have and dwell less on what you think you don’t have.
So let’s look outward and look ahead as FDR advised. Let us give thanks for the opportunity to share and depend on each other in new ways, for our faith in each other and for the idealism that makes our America great.
We do indeed have cause to worry. But we also have an obligation – to each other – to hold on to hope. We may face the greatest test of our lifetimes. But as long as we have each other and that deep sense of what really matters in life and hope we have reason to give thanks.
Help a family member. Help a friend. Help a neighbor. Help a stranger.