Today as we prepare for the coming Thanksgiving holiday and all the bounty of harvest, hearth, and home, I am reflecting on abundance. I am reflecting on the wealth and beauty that we have in our possession already. I am full. I know I often reflect on gratitude and this is the perfect week to remember all of those things and people that I am grateful to have an hold. I also want to hold still and absorb the abundance of joy and connection this time of year brings.
Like many of our holidays since COVID-19 took hold nearly two years ago this year’s celebrations will be scaled back and shaped differently than years before. On Thanksgiving 2020 we took a totally different route to our celebrations. We usually gather with extended family and even borrow chairs from the local funeral home to accommodate the crowd that gathers at our long tables. Last year, instead of that annual gathering of cousins, family, friends, and long lost relatives we stayed home. We hosted no-one and celebrated our own small family gathering. It was gorgeous. I broke out the fine china, used a fresh cocktail recipe, and old traditional foods. Everything was smaller than usual, but it’s intimacy made the experience so much richer.
Because there were so few of us, we did not have the constant flow of conversation or people popping in and out, we prepared our meal, dressed for dinner, and when the days preparations were done in the blink of an eye we let the children bathe and put their jammies on early. We decorated the tree, we savored each other’s company and when we toasted our health we truly meant it. Our time as a family took on a new sacredness under the light of our small hearth and the glow of Christmas lights.
This year we have yet to determine how we will celebrate the day. Like many families, not everyone in our circle is vaccinated and while our children cannot yet be vaccinated we will not be gathering. Instead of seeing this as a disappointment, we are going to focus on our good fortune. How lucky are we that we have so many people in our lives with whom we wish to spend the day? How fortunate we are to have enough to food to share. We are truly blessed with health and love. We are surrounded by the spirits of those who have gone before us and by the love that fills each of our hearts when we are together as well as when we are apart. We are also fortunate to know and love so many people with so many perspectives. The diversity of our community is what makes us all stronger.
I am grateful for all of these things and more. I am surrounded by wealth and abundance. It is my good fortune and joy that there is so much food, family, love, and light to share on these shorter and shorter days. There is nothing easy about this disease but it has given us a new perspective. It has given us back to the outdoors and spending time outside with friends. It has given us opportunities to deepen our connections with those friends and family that truly fill us up. And it has given us the time to draw comfort and consolation from the world by rekindling the love we build in our homes. How fortunate we all are and how grateful I am that this season is upon us and that we have such an abundance of blessings to celebrate together either virtually or just in our hearts.
What are you looking forward to this holiday season? Are vaccinations making it easier or harder for you to gather with loved ones? What are you most grateful for this year?