Giving thanks | VailDaily.com

Giving thanks

There can be years when it seems it's hard to approach Thanksgiving in a truly thankful manner. Personal or community setbacks or misfortune can put a damper on what's supposed to be a time of reflection and gratitude.

This may seem like one of those years to many people. We're coming off one of the strangest election seasons in our nation's history. No matter if you supported the winner or loser, there's still some exhaustion about how we finally elected a new president.

This has also been a hard year for fans of any number of musicians and other artists. Weird news stories seem to be multiplying — like the man in Florida who ran himself over with his own truck after leaving a strip club.

But with all the strangeness of the world, we can still be grateful for what we have.

While the original settlers of Plymouth Colony — the Pilgrims — celebrated a bountiful harvest in the autumn of 1621, that small band was also still mourning the loss of a shocking number of community members over the previous year. Of the 102 passengers on the Mayflower, 45 died before the end of the Pilgrims' first winter in the New World.

That was a celebration tinged with melancholy.

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And, while many of us wish we could be done with 2016 as soon as possible, take heart. We could be in the final weeks of 1916, when a world war was raging with no end in sight.

Granted, there are very real problems in our world, nation and valley.

But this week, we can all celebrate something: the birth, or pending birth, of a child; the warmth of a shared meal with either family or friends; or the ability to provide at least something to local food banks so others can celebrate.

Giving thanks doesn't have to be a religious exercise, either. The Pilgrims were devout Christians, and giving thanks to God is part of that belief. But thanks can be expressed in any number of ways. Frankly, being grateful is a more peaceful way of getting through life.

If you're working this Thanksgiving Day, here's hoping you're able to take a little time to enjoy the holiday with friends and loved ones. If you're visiting the valley this long weekend, please take a moment to thank those who are making your stay enjoyable.

For the rest of us, please pass the turkey!