Thanksgiving: The Every Person Holiday

TT89-dots.jpgThanksgiving Day is approaching and I’m sitting in my writer’s chair thinking about this year’s message to you. Allow me to allude to two comments I have brought up before.

First, what makes this holiday so special is that no person can find offense in participating, and we exclude no one. We give thanks for the blessings in our lives and we do this regardless of one’s color, faith or place of origin. The simple goal of Thanksgiving and its non-exclusionary openness make it the perfect holiday.

The other aspect of Thanksgiving that I’ve mentioned before is the importance of sharing it. I’ve noted in the past that inviting someone into your home on Thanksgiving Day, especially when you sense or know that they have nowhere to go, is the right thing to do. The simple act of asking goes a long way, and it allows the invitee to make the decision.

I have a friend who has invited the son and daughter of their college friends. The students attended school in the northeast corridor and rather than fly home to Florida for the quick Thanksgiving break, they visited my friend in South Jersey. They’ve done this for more than five years. During one year, one came from Boston and the other from across the river in Pennsylvania. These two students have graduated, but this year a teacher who is unmarried will be at my friend’s Thanksgiving table. I think you understand the message. It’s unlikely that you don’t know someone who has nowhere to go. It really doesn’t take much effort to invite someone and make them feel comfortable when they arrive. Also, you might consider that the Thanksgiving dinner is an ideal time and location to offer some mutual reconciliation if there has been any family discord in the past. Don’t forget: It’s Thanks+giving.

During this Thanksgiving season, while we should all count our own personal blessings it is hard for us to escape thoughts about the growing unrest in the world around us. Our fellow global citizens in France and Mali have faced events that have shaken their countries to their very core. Additionally, the continued threat of Boko Haram on the African continent also sends a chilling feeling to any of us desirous of a world at peace.

We are fortunate to live in what I believe to still be the greatest country in the world. Admittedly, a great but imperfect nation, marred by some serious problems and issues that raise our intellectual temperature and make us feel uncomfortable. However, I believe that we are still capable of blunting our differences when the chips are down and when we allow our better angels of our character to emerge.

When my family sits down to our Thanksgiving dinner, I will have many reasons to express my thanks. But, one special reason is how thankful I am to have the honor to represent the 7th Legislative District. The privilege to be the voice of so many on issues that matter to us all is one that I do not take lightly or for granted. I will continue to do everything I can to honor this privilege with effective advocacy and community engagement on behalf of “my LD7 bosses”. From my family to yours, I want to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

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