There isn’t an American alive who doesn’t know Norman Rockwell’s iconic Freedom from Want. In addition to defining the 20th century holiday of Thanksgiving, it’s a tour de force in that the entire center of the canvas is white-on-white but he still manages to convey great energy.
In prior years, we have hosted large Thanksgiving dinners for family and friends. This year I don’t have a functioning kitchen and I’ve resolutely turned down all invitations. I was curious about what it would be like to keep working when everyone around me was feasting. Since I could have chosen to go somewhere, it wouldn’t be exactly the same experience as that of a lonely person, but I did think it might be edifying.
Alas, my husband and son objected and my daughter persisted. I relented, so we’re going to her apartment for the day. But my idea got me thinking about all the ways in which this holiday is celebrated and has been celebrated. There are many who choose to serve others in food kitchens and missions. There are those who are far away from their homes and will eat with relative strangers. There are those who are alone, and others who have to work. There are people who will eschew any celebration whatsoever, and those for whom having a feast is an unsurmountable project.
Still, what we bring to the table isn’t a lavishly-trimmed turkey, but a grateful heart. However you observe it, may you have a blessed Thanksgiving.