Thursday, November 24

All that we behold is full of blessings. [William Wordsworth]

It's holidays like this one that really tug at my heartstrings. But who am I kidding? That's most all of them.

Thanksgiving is a day dedicated to gratitude, and I don't think there's anything more vital to personal happiness than a grateful heart -- a recognition of your blessings. Today we gather and we celebrate bounty in all its forms -- a bounty of food, a bounty of family, a bounty of love. A testament to the very beginnings of this country, to timeworn traditions. We join together, hands and hearts, and we give thanks.

We are all incredibly blessed to live in this beautiful, brave, deeply flawed, infinitely optimistic, vast nation of ours. Most of us are descended from a very hardscrabble lot of pilgrims and immigrants; groups of impoverished misfits that made their way at one time or another across a vast and dangerous ocean, to the New World. If they arrived in the colonies, they could not have fathomed what America would become.

I'm thankful for our freedom. I'm thankful for our democracy. I'm thankful for the melting pot that our nation has become, and I'm hopeful that we continue to welcome different cultures and ideas -- that spirit of inclusion is what makes America great.

I'm thankful for our health, and our jobs, and the food on our table. Sometimes you don't realize how precious these things are until they're gone.

I'm grateful for our friends -- our always entertaining, supportive, kind friends. Many of them live far away now, but they are always in our hearts. I feel like I've gained some new ones this year -- blog friends -- and I'm grateful for the opportunity to connect and share and be inspired.

And as ever, I am most thankful for my family -- our little Stevenson clan, the original Beckers who brought me into the world and brought me up in it, and the Byhams who have welcomed me with open arms. There is nothing in the world more important to me than family, and I feel truly blessed to be surrounded by such a wonderful one.

Whoever you are, I wish you a day full to overflowing with joy and love and fun (and stuffing!) Times can be hard in one way or another, but I hope you look around and see all the blessings that surround you.

So once in every year we throng upon a day apart
to praise the Lord with feast and song in thankfulness of heart. 
[Arthur Guiterman]

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