The reason that Thanksgiving is, for many of us, our favorite holiday of the year can be summed up in one word: family.
On Thanksgiving, we gather around a dining room table loaded with good things to eat and focus on one thing: the family.
We don’t exchange presents. We don’t shoot off fireworks. We don’t dress up in costumes. We just get together at one table, put aside our smartphones, tablets, and computers, look at and talk to each other. With no imperatives other than the preparation and serving of a multi-course meal, raucous kids, the clash and clang of ongoing interruptions and disruptions.
We’re not necessarily related by blood. We are friends, neighbors, casual acquaintances who might see each other only on Thanksgiving, and only at this table. But, for the duration of this meal, and this visit, we’re family.
We’ll go our separate ways after the meal, perhaps encounter each other at hurried holiday festivities, perhaps wish each other a happy new year. On Thanksgiving, however, for those few hours, we are a close-knit family. Knit together by a consciousness — perhaps not openly acknowledged but felt — of how we depend on each other for love and support.
On Thanksgiving, nothing takes precedence over family — including the ongoing chaos of a country settling uneasily into a new reality. We can’t ignore but we can put aside the differences that divide us.
I am so very thankful for this holiday, because it reminds me of who I am: part of a family that is tolerant, inclusive, diverse, accepting — and hopeful.