Thanksgiving used to be a big deal for me- fancy sit down meal with the whole family (which is a rarity when there are ten busy people involved), my birthday fell around that time, and the fall/winter transition appealed to my sense of aesthetic. I've felt a bit bereft this month, especially knowing that Thanksgiving dinner at the family table, if I went, would be a very strained and awkward affair.
One of the churches I play for had their Thanksgiving service today, and they actually went out of their way to make it a special time. The order of the service was switched up, the music was doubled, and they had a time set aside so that people could anonymously write things for which they were thankful on small decorated cards, which were then read aloud. Going into this portion of the service, I expected brief answers: my family, good health, etc. I think the pastor and I were equally surprised by the eloquence of the messages on those little cards. People were thankful for family and friends, of course, but many went into great detail about how they appreciated being close to people, the sacrifice soldiers have made so we can sit and eat our meals in comfort, the little joys of having a dear pet or being able to retire to this remote hamlet. I had always considered this particular congregation to be a bit reticent, but today was a genuine surprise. People really powered out the hymns, tears were shed at several points, and everyone spent a few moments afterwards to wish everyone else a happy Thanksgiving. It might sound a bit trite and contrived, but I walked away afterwards smiling, thinking that perhaps this Thanksgiving might not be a total loss after all.