Wednesday, November 21, 2012

On Thanks

The Fall View, 2006
(Originally posted 11/23/11)
Isn’t it interesting how over the last several years Thanksgiving has picked up a little additional energy? People who used to reserve their appreciations and best wishes for the new year for sharing at Christmas, Hanukkah or on January 31st now send their sincerest greetings at Thanksgiving.
I like this. Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. It doesn’t have the baggage of Christmas and Easter. It's not a birthday. You don’t have to worry about stepping on anyone’s religious rituals. In some families you might have to monitor the booze and stifle smoldering domestic tensions. But so far as gift giving is concerned, the only gift is the giving of yourself, and what could be cheaper and yet bigger than the fellowship that comes from that? All in all, arguably the most anxiety-free of the holidays.
Well, maybe a little anxiety. Thanksgiving 1963 marked my debut as a boy soprano. I stood up in front of the congregation of the First Lutheran Church in Norfolk, Virginia, and sang “We Gather Together.” I don't remember much about it other than that both of my parents were there, that both encouraged me to just relax and go with the music—they were both  accomplished singers—and both claimed afterwards that I'd done a good job.
We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;He chastens and hastens His will to make known;The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing;Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Every now and then I come across someone who doesn’t have it in them to be thankful. Such people are easy to dislike, but more often than not I end up feeling sorry for them. Maybe I’m just a sucker. I’m reading a book about the elements of happiness, from which I’m learning that one of the most important elements of happiness, regardless of the nation or culture, is the sense of being connected to other people. In my experience, people who can’t be thankful tend to be socially isolated.  I suppose this could be one of those chicken-and-egg quandaries: are people without thankfulness that way because of isolation or are they isolated because they are so without the capacity for thankfulness?
All I know is that I have much to be thankful for in my life. That includes being sincerely thankful for my friends, including those of you who follow What I Saw. I wish you all a wonderful day of thanksgiving. Whether you celebrate as we do in the United States or as it’s celebrated in Canada on a different day or whether it’s not even on the calendar where you live, I appreciate you and the richness you bring to my life.


  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.

  2. Hope you and your family have a beautiful Thanksgiving, Chris. This is definitely my favorite holiday: something magical about it, and no matter how corny, it really does make me realize how fortunate I am in many ways.

    On another note: I'd have loved to have seen you sing that!