Editorial: The feeling of Thanksgiving
This editorial is based on one first published on Nov. 22, 2017. On this Thanksgiving, we hope you find it meaningful.
We ask you to remember this day.
Not just to honor it. Not just to celebrate it. To remember it.
Remember it tomorrow and all the crowded shopping days ahead when, battling the onslaughts of bargain hunters, you are tempted to toss all of humanity onto an ash heap formed of selfishness and greed.
Remember it the next time any ugly event in our society -- whether some merely disgusting new sexual harassment claim or a deadly act of pure human evil -- threatens to poison your appreciation for the blessedness of life, the joys of family and the fundamental decency of humankind.
Forgive us in the midst of such ethereal reflections a crude literary reference.
We travel back to 1979 and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Spock has just survived a mind-meld that allowed him to see the cold planet of V'ger, a living machine with "knowledge that spans this universe" and he, the ultimate disciple of logic, describes in a handclasp with Captain Kirk the key to understanding human life. "This simple feeling," he wheezes, "is beyond V'ger's comprehension."
This simple feeling, this awareness of our connection to a beautiful world, this rush of blood to the face -- even if only a momentary surge amid the torrent of cooking, shopping, arguing and game watching -- is the defining quality for this day. This is what appreciation feels like.
No, it will not be easy. Our days are filled with an unending stream of anxieties -- frustrating spouses, demanding bosses, relentless bills, agonizing illnesses, unnerving claims and reports on social media, terrifying traffic, aggravating politics and so much more. But these are merely events and situations that decorate life. They don't define it.
They cannot be ignored. But they are not worth remembering. What we must recall are these fleeting moments in which we get to experience the pure joy that is the source of all life's richness and wonder.
For a reinforcement of this notion more cultured perhaps than a reference to a Star Wars character, we turn to the Psalmist of ancient Israel. "This is the day the Lord has made," he says in Psalms 118, Verse 24. "Let us rejoice and be glad in it."
The poet was not speaking, of course, about some particular day set aside for feasting and celebration. He was speaking about every day, and his sentiment applies to every faith and every era.
As we share in our feasts and celebrations today, we pay homage to that which nourishes us at the very core of life. Acknowledge it, yes. Celebrate it, of course. But above all, in the midst of all the temptations and aggravations that will follow in the days, weeks, months and year ahead, remember it.