In my family, as in so many American families who come together for Thanksgiving every year, there is a moment in the gathering where we are all seated around a table (or two or three tables), probably holding hands, and one by one share something we are thankful for.
For some it is a spiritual or religious moment of praise and thanks to a higher power for blessings on the family. For others, it is a more secular moment of reflection, of searching for the small good things we can focus on. Often we are just thankful for the food we are about to share, and the ability to share it. Sometimes it’s our health or success, ways that we’ve grown, battles we’ve survived.
This often ends up in the form of a list, and there’s certainly good in that. Sometimes we need to actually say these things out loud or write them down to realize just how long that list can be.
But the one thing everyone has in common when gather together like this is being thankful for the people they’re with. Whether it’s family, friends, or even strangers. The Thanksgiving tradition of a welcoming table and communal meal, of sharing something nourishing with others, is the heart of what Thanksgiving is about.