On the heels of a contentious election, seemingly endless precaution, and growing isolation, we are entering the traditional holiday season laden with caveats – and a generous helping of anxiety and righteous exasperation.
A quiet exercise of moral contortion guides our planning, complete with a constant stream of, “If this, then possibly that?” or “Can I, should I, dare I?” It is tiresome – 2020 is tiresome – but given the prevailing conditions, it may be helpful to remember the original intentions of the day.
Early American colonists regularly conducted what they called “thanksgivings” to express their gratitude for the harvest, family health, a betrothal, even good weather or political events. The purpose was to acknowledge the blessings they received, often through an act of private prayer, or a simple family observance.
Later, a woman’s magazine editor lobbied the government for a day to encourage community through wider celebration. Eventually, President Lincoln declared November 26th a federal holiday of national thanksgiving, and the festivities grew in popularity, with ever-expanding tables and gatherings.
Tomorrow, we’ll be reflecting on the traditions of the past, and staying safely at home while we give quiet thanks for all that we have received – as even in this year, there is much for which we can be grateful.
With our best wishes,