Last Sunday afternoon, folks and their clergy of every denomination in my neighborhood joined together for a celebration of diversity, hope and faith. In a nation that has been jostled and bruised by words and acts of divisiveness and hate, I am poignantly reminded that our country is filled with hundreds of millions of good, kind souls, each one doing their part — large or small, every one of them important — to demonstrate what is truly magnificent and great about these United States.
This morning, I was honored to spend several hours with other families preparing Thanksgiving meals for those who had no family table around which to sit tonight. And while there are so many places where our country falls short, the goodness that these families displayed, goodness which lines the hearts of so many across this land, inspires me and gives me great hope for the future.
Lastly, Ellen and I spent our first Thanksgiving without our children present. Why? Because they have begun to fill their own homes with the love of friends and family who (we should all be so blessed) will fill their Thanksgiving tables every year from this time forward.
And one more thought:
In recent days, scores of people in our community have reached out to welcome a family that was granted a very rare visa to emigrate here from Afghanistan. What must it be like to leave everything behind, to move to a place where you know no one, cannot speak the language, don’t know how to put food on your family’s table let alone find a livelihood that will allow you to care for them in the years ahead?
I don’t know if that family can even set their worries aside long enough to be able to offer thanks on a holiday they’ve never known but that now belongs to them, but I do know that I’m exceedingly grateful that the community I am part of has been able to welcome them and to help them build a life for themselves here. I hope that next November, they will have reached a level of comfort and security that will allow them to gather around a table just as we have done this evening, and offer thanks for the many, many blessings that are theirs.
From our house to yours, may all your days be ones for giving thanks.