What sets apart the significant celebration of Thanksgiving from other major holidays of the year? Why during these days do more Americans, compared to other celebrations, endure adversity, often waiting for hours at airports, highways, and train stations, to go to their homes, wherever they are located across the country, where their loved ones gather to celebrate with them?
Because Thanksgiving has been established as a purely family celebration. It’s the day when, regardless of the prevailing weather, family members, in the broadest sense, gather around a table, share the same traditional meal, a turkey with various vegetable sides, and the same traditional sweets.
They eat, drink, talk, agree, or disagree – I would advise avoiding political discussions – and young people observe role models and acquire new family memories – and the elders reminisce about the past.
Thus, family bonds even more.
What is more significant in our lives than family? Isn’t the family the essence and extension of our existence? Isn’t the family the aim of human life?
Of course, a person can live alone. But what meaning does this life have? It loses the love, trust, dedication, and warmth of the soul that the family offers. It may have many other things, such as money and property. But what use are those when one is alone in the world?
Possibly, some of us take the members of our families for granted. We believe they will be with us forever, love us, and guide us. We believe they will provide us with whatever they can
However, it’s not always the case. And it’s during Thanksgiving that we better realize this. When we look around the table, at the chair where a family member usually sat… and it’s empty. Either because they can’t attend for some reason, or they don’t want to, or because they have passed away.
It’s then that the painful void left by someone who has ‘gone’ brings tears to our eyes, giving a spiritual dimension to the concept of family.
Let’s thank God for our families, for the members of our families who are with us. But let’s look around the table to see who is missing and what their absence means for us. Let’s promise ourselves that next year, we’ll ignore any inconvenience or expense to come together again. To sit at the same table. To thank God for what we have. For our family.
From all of us at EK/TNH, Happy Thanksgiving!