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Putting the 'thanks' in Thanksgiving

Once again we find ourselves approaching the holiday season.  Right now, it’s Thanksgiving time, the ideal opportunity to stop for a moment and consider everything we have to be grateful for in this all-too-chaotic world.

It can be difficult to find things to be thankful for when the world around us is in such tatters. There is war and hate, terror and pain, bigotry and injustice, famine and thirst, illness and death — but through all of that there is also the human spirit and its unquenchable desire for peace and goodwill.

It’s this common thread, woven among man, woman and child, that we must seek to strengthen and nourish, not just during the holidays, but always. This time of year, however, does present the perfect opportunity to strive for those ideals.

It is also, of course, the appropriate time to express gratitude for all we’ve been blessed with. This is an important exercise, not only at the dining table on Thanksgiving, but in our daily lives. And there are so many things to be grateful for, regardless of one’s situation: your loved ones, your health, your pets, your community, your knowledge, your experiences and the list goes on. You may not have all that you want, or even everything you need, but chances are that there are still many things in your life you should be thankful for, and it’s important that you don’t take those things for granted.

To appreciate what you have, the gifts life has handed you, is really very special. No, not everything will seem like such a “gift” when you think about it. Many life-lessons are difficult, and oftentimes reality seems too painful to be of benefit, but sometimes those experiences are the most valuable ones of all. Try to embrace what life puts before you and share what you can with those you think it would help.

This holiday season try thinking beyond yourself, with a charitable and generous heart. Starting now through the new year, and beyond, there are many ways in which you can contribute to your community, whether that be your family, your neighbors, your shopkeepers, your children’s teachers, your fellow congregants, whomever. (Look for events and ideas posted in The Millerton News.) And don’t be afraid to reach out to those around you and pass on what you can of those things that you’re most thankful for — it could be the start of a wonderful family tradition for years to come.

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