In her “Pass the Thanksgiving” essay,* the late, great Marj Leegard gave sage advice for enjoying the holiday for what it is, not what it used to be, not what it could be.
“Memories have a way of bundling together every good thing about many Thanksgivings, many holidays,” reminded Leegard. So “when we live in the reality of this celebration … nothing seems as perfect as it was then.” She offered four strategies for opening the gifts of Thanksgiving present.
- See through the eyes of a child. The older we are, the more likely we are to see the “empty chairs” around the Thanksgiving table, and miss loved ones separated by death, geography or other reasons. Children accept “this is the day, these are the people.”
- Share stories. “Fill those empty chairs with wonderful memories.” For example, I remember my mother and grandmother by telling the story of Grandma’s dishes.
- Accept the day with joy. Choose to be happy with what is. “If I have one kind of pie,” Leegard wrote, “I’ll smile and say, ‘I believe I’ll have apple.'”
- Pass the blessings. Each of us can find a way to “pass [God’s] blessings along this Thanksgiving.” We can give thanks for God’s good gifts. We can generously give and gratefully receive.
*”Pass the Thanksgiving” by Marj Leegard first appeared in the November 1998 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather magazine). Leegard joined the great cloud of witnesses in 2010.