I remember a time when Thanksgiving was one of my favorite holidays. Family would gather, laughter would fill the home, food and memories would be shared in abundance, and the adults would soon pass out on the furniture from their food comas while us little ones played together or watched parades and other nonsense on television. Thanksgiving was about reflection, gratitude, and the one thing no one can ever take from you (no matter how hard we may try to get them to sometimes) – family.
I remember how it never seemed like a holiday unless there were tons of people around. Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents, Friends, Strangers – it didn’t matter who. Everyone was loved, or at least tolerated, and everyone enjoyed themselves. It was family. It was being together. It was sharing in Thanksgiving. It was being grateful to live in a country that recognized the importance of such a thing. Thanksgiving was a sacred day. A wholesome day. A special day.
And now…I can’t say those values have survived the generations. I can’t say people look forward to gathering around a table, offering up a prayer of thanks, and looking forward to counting how many times Grandpa snores from the rocking chair.
Thanksgiving has become a holiday second to Black Friday. Second so much, that now stores are opening on Thanksgiving day to offer the latest and greatest in deals and material junk that won’t work six months from now, or will have torn or somehow malfunctioned. Items that will sit on a shelf, forgotten, for years to come, or end up in next Spring’s garage sale pile. Yet people are crowding, stampeding, and toppling over one another to get their hands on these….things.
The turkey doesn’t even have time to cool before some are lining up outside the doors of stores to rush in and spend more money and time in a mad rush of insanity. Who would have ever thought people could die from shopping? Yet it’s happened, every year most recently. No regard for one another, only the goal of getting what they want in mind, and sacrificing courtesy, character, and compassion in order to obtain it.
It’s sick. It’s backwards. It’s sad.
This year we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving as a family of three plus one, remembering our precious Harlynn and being thankful for each other and our time with her. We’ll be thanking God for bringing us through the most tumultuous year of our lives, and for not forsaking or abandoning us in our grief. We’ll watch parades, play games, and eat until we pass out on the sofa from our food comas and wake when Haley pokes us in the face out of curiosity. 
We’ll be staying indoors and not wandering out to public places. We’ll continue to keep, and teach, the sacredness of family time and holiday meaning. We’ll focus on each other instead of deals or gifts or plastic, fabricated items.
And we’ll be thankful. Even if I catch the oven on fire like I did the first time I ever cooked a turkey…

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