“So— What are you doing for Thanksgiving?”

It’s a common question at this time of year. With the mobile society we live in today, and with family members spread out across the country from each other, there are many more options than everyone gathering at Grandma’s house, which was a lot more common in days gone by.

Not that it isn’t still an option. Many of our friends and neighbors have children and grandchildren, and for some of them, their house is where everyone comes to celebrate Thanksgiving. I know a few families that will have tables set for two dozen people or more.

It’s interesting that when people ask each other what they’re doing for Thanksgiving, the question isn’t really “What are you doing?” but rather, “Where are you going?” Or, “Who’s hosting?”

Thanksgiving traditionally revolves around family and food. It is also traditionally the busiest travel time of the year. Many airlines are predicting that this Thanksgiving will be the busiest ever for air travel. I have to admit that that adds one more item to the list of things I am thankful for this year – the fact that I’m not getting on an airplane during this Thanksgiving weekend.

I am, however, praying for the safety of everyone who is traveling during this holiday season, whether by air, car, or any other mode of transportation. And I am saying extra prayers this year – not only for travelers, but for many others. With much of California in flames from the deadliest wildfires in the state’s history, and with the northeast targeted by an early and powerful snowstorm that has already killed a number of people, travel in many places will be more difficult and dangerous this year than ever before. For many of the people in these areas, holiday travel is the least of their worries. And it may seem to some of them that there’s nothing to be thankful for this year.

There still is, of course. There always is. But it’s easy for me to say that from the comfort of my home, far from the tragic events of recent days. So as I count my blessings at Thanksgiving this year, I also want to offer my hopes and prayers for those who are suffering.

As always, I’m thankful for a roof over my head, and a warm bed to sleep in at night. And I’m praying that all those who lost their homes in fires or floods this year are finding new homes where they can be safe and secure.

I’m thankful for the family and friends that enrich my life, and are always there for me when I need them. I’m praying that everyone in need will find help and support, whether it comes from family, friends, or total strangers. And I pray that I will always be aware of the suffering of others, and of ways that I can help.

I’m thankful that even though I won’t be spending Thanksgiving with my entire family, we’ll still be together in spirit, talking with each other on the phone as we do throughout the year. And I’m praying that everyone has a chance to connect with their loved ones, and to express how much they mean to each other.

So— What are you doing for Thanksgiving?

November 16, 2018
©Betty Liedtke, 2018

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