The month of November represents a pleasant change in weather, vibrant blossoms and brightly colored leaves, especially where we live in the southeastern part of the country. In addition, we look forward to partaking in the activities like outdoor festivals, apple picking, hayrides, corn fields and pumpkin patches.
Meanwhile, many are already dreading the task of untangling Christmas lights and are anxiously curious about what ‘Black Friday’ will look like this year. We are very intentional focused on the special moments that precede the frenzy of the holidays: Thanksgiving Day. Even though the Christmas songs, lights, trees and decorations are all around us, we have embraced the mindset of giving thanks, gathering with family, putting and passing on the “attitude of gratitude” in a tangible way.
Grateful for Family
Thanksgiving will look different this year. As a global precautionary measure, cities, states and the entire country is advised against gathering for the holidays. This has been especially difficult for the big, happy family I married into. We love Jesus and being around each other. For so many years, the heart of Thanksgiving has been centered around the very thing we have been asked to avoid: family! To show love to our family members by not gathering this year feels like hearts are being broken in many pieces. It’s also a time to get creative.
Everyone from Martha Steward to Pinterest have suggestions on ways to have a fun quarantine, no-contact Thanksgiving celebration. But the one we’ll give the most attention to comes from the CDC. They offer activities and steps to protect yourself and others from getting or spreading COVID-19.
Grateful for Health and Wellness
Even with our children attending school part-time, we have been spared. With so many of my comorbidities, it’s been very important that our family is protected to keep everyone around us safe.
Fortunately, less than a dozen direct family members have contracted the coronavirus since it was officially announced in March 2020. Unfortunately, we’ve nevertheless suffered the loss of many of its members. Dozens in our outer, non-family member circle have both contracted and died from complications of the virus.
The morbidity of our new reality has really forced us to focus on all those we come in contact with differently. Even beyond the contact tracing happening at school and work, we are the best defense against the spread of the virus as well as what it can do to mental, spiritual, relational and professional health.
Grateful for Veterans and Essential Workers
This time last year, we honored our veterans out loud, in the streets, at their tombs and with a parade. In the midst of a health and human crisis, closures and cancellations, we couldn’t pay tribute to our veterans amid the strain of a pandemic. Some recognition events were moved to social media, memorial motorcades became socially-distanced and virtual events. Nevertheless, my gratitude for their service and sacrifice remains.
The pandemic highlights the long, overdue dependence on essential workers. They selflessly put themselves at risk, making sacrifices for the safety of others. First responders, healthcare professionals, public health workers, police officers, firefighters, military personnel, teacher/educators, grocery store workers, mail carriers, truck drivers and so many more risk their lives and serve the communities around them. As we look for ways to feed and fund our frontline heroes, we found a few ways to keep them encouraged.