Our family Thanksgiving dinner has always been an event that taxes our ability to conform to the ideals of the holiday including the type of food to be served and the rituals that characterize tradition. For example, some would rather eat a turkey as pieces in a Mole or as meat for tamales and yet cook and eat the bird as prescribed because it is an American tradition to prepare it that way.
The family gathering for Thanksgiving is generally too big for a single table and so the harmonious looking setting does not really take place. In addition, the prayer of thanks is usually replaced by the loud telecast of football games and cheering crowds.
However, especially in times of war and uncertainty, it is well to take stock of the important things for which to give thanks. I have 10 and you may have more or less or different ones, but all express the fragility of our human condition and the spiritual journey we are on as a civilization.
1. Safety and Security – We are thankful that in these dangerous times most of us are not in the battlefields around the world fighting to keep our people safe. We also are grateful that our men and women in the military allows us to live peacefully at home and at work.
2. Life and Health – Thanksgiving is one of the best times to make a toast to our health because without it, everything else seems to matter less. Life is a journey with many obstacles such as health and well-being issues that we must overcome in order to add to our happiness.
3. Family and Friends – From family and friends come the lessons of care, unity and the will to live a full life. They are the foundation of love and selflessness that describes a community, a country and a way of life.
4. Children – We give thanks for our children that are the inner sanctum of our souls as they carry the future before our eyes. In our family, it is for them that the Christmas list is constructed as part of Thanksgiving.
5. Job – We are thankful for being employed and contributing to the economy of our family, community and country. Working hard has always been a major characteristic of our ethics.
6. Identity – We are thankful for our identity as a basic element of a new America. Latinos, both born here and immigrant are forging a renewed country with the highest values that characterize our history.
7. Liberty and Justice – We give thanks for liberty and stand to keep our people free. There is no substitute for liberty and justice.
8. The Dream of Humanity - We give thanks for our place in a globalized society that can be more human and more divine. We take this occasion to pledge ourselves to this dream.
9. Equality Before the Law and God – We are thankful for our journey to political and social equality. We pledge to secure those blessings for ourselves and others in this country and around the world.
10. Food – We give thanks for the good food, good company and the love of family. Breaking bread is an essential act that bonds a people together and creates unity.
These things are as much expressions of who we are as human carriers of culture as they are of our sense of gratefulness for gaining another year of life. They are also expressions of what is possible. Happy Thanksgiving.