Warning: This is not going to be my usual cute-animals-Thanksgiving post. Sorry about that.
I'm sitting here this morning looking at pictures of some of the casualties in Gaza, while my mother-in-law and brother-in-law discuss which Black Friday sales are worth going to, and my father-in-law asks me how many mashed potatoes I want for dinner.
On my Facebook wall, people are posting food photos and cheerfully listing all of the things they are thankful for. Meanwhile, in so many places, like Gaza, there are people who live in fear and grief, on a level I have never known and cannot begin to comprehend.
Me, sitting here in my soft sweatshirt, typing on my laptop and drinking coffee. Outside the window, the only sounds are leaves drifting across the pavement and the occasional sounds of cars. No missiles, no screaming. Nothing like the pictures I see on my computer screen.
The disconnect is mind-numbing.
On my Twitter feed, someone has created a hashtag for people who are alone during the holiday, so they can hang out and have someone to talk to. You don't have to look halfway around the world to find sadness and pain. You may not have to look outside your own neighborhood.
I'm not trying to ruin anyone's holiday/eating/shopping fun. Lord knows the world needs all the joy and laughter it can get. But thankfulness is often such a shallow concept, a word we toss out once a year, listing our blessings like a fill-in-the-blank project.
Thankfulness should be something that drives us to our knees, and something that drives us to action. We should be humbled and grateful, we who were fortunate enough to be born in a world that made it possible for us to be safe and warm when so many others are not. And we should look for opportunities to be generous with the lives we've been given.
So please, remember. Remember the other people in the world.
Hold your family tight, but do not forget the people who've lost their loved ones.
Eat and enjoy your dinner, but do not forget the people who go hungry.
Play computer games, clip coupons, go about your day. But do not forget that you are fortunate beyond measure, that for every person who has more than you, there are hundreds, thousands, millions who have far less.
Be kind, be gracious, be humble.
And do not forget.