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Set aside differences and give thanks

Set aside differences and give thanks Set aside differences and give thanks

Thanksgiving has traditionally been a time for family members to gather and share a meal.

Every family has their own traditions around the holiday. For some it revolves around watching sports. For others it means spending the morning in the woods in search of a whitetail deer. Others spend the day watching parades and dog shows and others work to finish putting up lights or decorating floats.

While there is no wrong way to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, a common denominator for celebrations is the gathering of family from near and far to share in a meal. There is something special about sharing a meal, particularly a meal of thanksgiving. It does not take a stretch to imagine a prehistoric community gathering in a shared meal and giving thanks for the bounty with which they have been graced.

Just as now, those ancient ancestors who shared a table and a meal had different views and conflicting personalities.

While the details of those ancient dinner table discussions would make little sense to people of today, it would be easy to draw parallels between that table and our own. There have always been opinionated uncles and rebellious youth and those who just don’t see eye to eye on whatever issue that time brings whether it is theories about why mammoth numbers are down or how they think the current community leader is doing.

Then, as now, somehow the discussions would be set aside as those gathered at the table were reminded that their purpose was to celebrate in each other’s presence and to give thanks for all that they have received in the past year. It is this lesson that people must remember as they join with families and friends this year.

In a world that has grown increasingly isolated and self-absorbed with interaction taking place over electronic interfaces, it is easy to forget that every thought does not need to be spoken out loud and that intelligent, caring people can and often do disagree. While there is a time and place for disagreements and discussions, the Thanksgiving table should be about coming together and sharing in each other’s company. It is a time to celebrate that which unites us and leave that which divides us to other days.

Last year many families could not gather due to COVID-19 and ongoing health concerns. This year’s projections are that holiday travel is expected to rebound to pre-pandemic levels and that people will once again sit in person at each other’s tables.

In the wake of the turbulence of recent years, it is especially important to remember to set aside differences and to join together in giving thanks.