In the next week many of us will be making or have already made the tough choices to not gather with our loved ones in the traditional ways we usually do. We are finding new and creative ways to celebrate together while apart. Finding ways to be together that keep everyone safe and healthy. Through this we will also grieve the loss of our traditions, of food shared around a table, of time spent playing with cousins. This will be my first thanksgiving not being home, it will be the first Thanksgiving in as long as I can remember without a morning spent with family on a wagon ride singing songs and sharing stories (except two years ago when it was so cold we all stayed inside). I won’t get my traditional photo with my cousin and her kiddos, or go with them to see Santa come into Cooperstown on the Friday after Thanksgiving. However, I am not dreading the Holiday next week. It will be different, but there are good reasons for why it will be different. We are continuing to make sacrifices and changes to protect ourselves, our family, and those around us. So in the midst of all of this how do we still celebrate and give thanks when it can feel like there isn’t always a lot to be thankful for right now.
If you are struggling to feel thankful maybe making a list of things you are thankful for can help. Giving thanks can start small. Being thankful for having the basics of food, water, and shelter and praying for those who don’t have those necessities. Then as you feel ready grow the bubble of thankfulness from there. Or, I have seen many people posting lately each day one thing (or more) that day they are thankful for; you could end your day by thinking of something that made you thankful or grateful, whether it was the beauty of the sunrise or a stranger who made you smile. Things like this are important because they can help re-center us when we feel so disconnected and lost. By thinking about even just one small thing that makes us thankful can help us create a mindset of gratefulness that we can pass along to others through our actions. When we think thankful thoughts we act in thoughtful ways. When we think grateful thoughts we act in generous ways.
In this season of holidays that will be so different for so many of us, I pray that we all take time to think about and reflect on the things we are thankful for. To see that even in the midst of so much that seems different and hard there is good and growth happening too.