LESLIE CRISS: Thanksgiving more than the starting line for Christmas season

By Leslie Criss

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I made cranberry sauce, and when it was done put it into a dark blue bowl for the beautiful contrast. I was thinking, doing this, about the old ways of gratitude: Indians thanking the deer they’d slain, grace before supper, kneeling before bed. I was thinking that gratitude is too much absent in our lives now, and we need it back, even if it only takes the form of acknowledging the blue of a bowl against the red of cranberries.”
– Elizabeth Berg

“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”
– Meister Eckhart

Facebook, for the past several months, has set my teeth on edge. The angry and meanspirited rants posted pre-election hurt my heart and wore me out.
I missed reading what folks were having for supper. I missed seeing pictures of friends’ kids or pets.
I longed for the posting of a joke that was so silly I had to laugh.
And I sadly wondered how, if Facebook friends cannot be civil to one another, can we expect our country to mend its divisions?
Then suddenly I noticed people were putting positive posts, listing each new day something in their lives for which they were grateful.
What a swell idea. And just in time for the forgotten holiday.
Thanksgiving. Sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas, the day set aside for giving thanks seems somehow lost.
Maybe the fault lies with Macy’s. It is, after all, that store’s famous parade that ultimately slings Santa onto the scene and ushers in the holiday shopping season.
But we’ve still got plenty of time to count our blessings during this Thanksgiving season, and beyond.
So, I’ll go first.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to fill this space each week. I’ve been given the great freedom to hold forth on whatever is on my mind, whether it’s my dogs, my family, my thoughts on a wild and wide variety of topics.
And I’m grateful to those of you who read my words. Those of you who tell me you like what I do or that my words have moved you in some way make writing a column worthwhile.
I’m thankful to work for a newspaper that continues to believe in newspapers.
I’m thankful for my co-workers who are creative and compassionate and feel a lot like family.
I’m fortunate to have a wonderful family on whom I can always depend for their love and support – no matter what.
I’m grateful for music and memories, laughter and literature, freedom and friends. And life.
Now it’s your turn.
Happy Thanksgiving.

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