My friend and colleague Kristi might not agree with me on this, but I think Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays going.
Unlike Christmas, there’s no need to go hog wild on gifts and getting up early.
Unlike Fourth of July, you don’t need to stay up and fight the crowds to see the fireworks.
Unlike Easter, you don’t need to get all fancied up for church and go traipsing through grass looking for eggs.
Thanksgiving has always been a fan favorite. Really, what’s not to love?
Food, family, football, falling asleep after the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, more football and talking smack about football. Man, that’s the good stuff.
Every family has traditions at Thanksgiving — whether it’s the type of celebration, the timing, the actual food (we have shrimp and ham as our main entrees), the location, the way the food is prepared or who gets the honor of carving the bird.
What I love most about it is the chance we all have to look back on the year and remember the things we have to be thankful for and perhaps want to change in the year to come.
As I worked over the theme to this column in my head this week, I thought of all the things I have to be thankful for, and what I could do to show my gratitude to those responsible.
I think it’s a good thing for all of us to do this week — and all year long if you think about it.
When I reflect on the past 11 months, one common theme has been there — starting over.
So in addition to the usual things — an awesome family, good health, a good job, great friends, amazing freedoms, a great place to live — I’m thankful for second chances.
The past 18 months have marked a second chance for me on several fronts, especially since we welcomed a new baby into our family in March.
I’ve had the chance to make amends, get a firm hold on what’s important and make the most of my newfound opportunities.
This new baby also made me realize how good I have it and how I need to make a point of showing the important people how grateful I am.
On a grander scale, we all can be thankful for a lot.
America is the home of second chances and rising from the ashes to try again. Many of us have benefited from our land of opportunity and the forgiveness of our friends, co-workers, our church family, our God, our legal system.
This is not a global phenomenon.
We are very lucky to live in America.
Life isn’t always perfect and in fact, sometimes it downright stinks, but if you try hard enough, most of us can find something for which to be grateful.
It can be something small — like a friend to share dinner with on Thursday — or big — like healthy babies, an awesome spouse or a roof over your head.
Even if 2012 has been rough, there’s a smile and a friend out there somewhere. There’s good stuff to be found, we just need to keep trying and keep looking and keep praying if that’s what works for you. That reward could turn up in the oddest of places and craziest of shapes. It might even have 10 little fingers and 10 little toes.
Happy and safe Thanksgiving to all.
Bill Kohler is Tri-State Editor of The Herald-Mail. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-791-7281.