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Over the past few days there has been much attention paid to the weather. Huge storms all across the United States have taken first place on the nightly news and are second only to the numbers of people who are traveling during this “Thanksgiving weekend.” It occurred to me to stop and think about the impact of this holiday which is not, in itself, religious or of directly patriotic origin. It has grown to include commemoration in houses of worship as a natural way of gathering to give thanks and parades usually include groups of military service people and/or their equipment. At its heart, however, Thanksgiving is about connections – millions of people traveling across the country or down the street to share a meal. It’s even fine to stay in one’s home as long as there are invitees and a turkey or some other special meal that says, “Thank you for our lives together.”

Millions of people take risks to travel to be with loved ones. (Note the pile-ups on snow-packed highways during the past few days.) Organizations offer free meals to those who have no one to share with or for those who live in a state of poverty too restrictive for such a feast. New relationships begin or are solidified over cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie…and (usually) turkey or tofurkey, of course. It’s about eating together, being nourished in ways that can rekindle family ties, reconcile friendships or spark attention to similarities of beliefs or interests. Many things can happen at Thanksgiving.

Best of all, we remember and experience gratitude, the foundational reason for the first Thanksgiving celebrated by the Pilgrims and their neighbors after their first harvest in the New World in October of 1621. It lasted for three days and was attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims, according to attendee, Edward Winslow. May the good feelings of yesterday remain and relationships endure so that the heart of our country may be ever more open and restored to peace and harmony.