It’s a day for us to give thanks

There are two ways to approach today’s holiday, all contained in the simple one-word name we give to the fourth Thursday in November in the United States: Thanksgiving.

We can be thankful. Yes, the world is a tough place, economically, politically, religiously and racially. Yes, there are personal, national and worldwide difficulties, tragedies and disasters.

Yet, the day dawned today. You’re reading this, so you are conscious and breathing and facing a new day.

Which means you have a new chance. It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday or a decade ago or a century ago. You’re alive. Your community is here and it needs you and your creativity.

Thus, while giving thanks, you can emphasize the “giving” part.

Be grateful by giving yourself a change in attitude. Look up instead of down. Think twice before issuing negative comments about others, about your community and, yes, about yourself.

Today is about more than muttering something about being thankful. It’s about making true change that reflects true thankfulness. Think today about what it really means to be a citizen in our region. Think about the things that are advantages, such as good schools, good friends and good neighbors. From those things, think of what we can build to advance our communities.

The Pilgrims had hardships we cannot imagine. They were facing unknowns, including issues of food and shelter, in a strange land. Thus, the thankfulness they celebrated in 1621 was more focused, on one another, on opportunity, on what it meant to be free from oppression and to be pioneers.

We have such opportunities, to be pioneers and remake our region, without having to face quite the same sorts of hardships faced by the Pilgrims of Plymouth.

Thanksgiving thus can be a chance to transform our world, one household, one street, one neighborhood, one community at a time.

It starts with you.

And we’re thankful you’re here.

Happy Thanksgiving.