The grandchildren have arrived. The house is filled with toys, pets, and assorted travel aids. The parents are off visiting all the friends that can be squeezed in to these few days. We can baby-sit. Lovely. All of a sudden, Ferguson, Iraq, ISIS, the collection of children called Congress seem to slip into the background. They have been replaced by big hugs, tickles and sets of eyes that are filled with wonder. Not too bad, if I say so myself. So Thursday afternoon so many will gather at table with friends and family to enact the most basic of American holidays. No religious overtones, just community.
These moments get more precious as we get older. Maybe it is, at some root unexpressable level, a feeling that we cannot know how many of these we have left. They also become special because we can see,, from year to year, the growth and changes in our own family systems. Who is no longer at the table, who has joined within the last year and who is new to the circle. It is also a time to reflect on what we do have, not necessarily in a material sense, but in that spiritual sense. It is those grandchildren’s eyes again!
Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude. A small moment in time to savor the “real” important aspects of life: family, community and love. It is also a time to remember that there still so many in our country that do not have the opportunity to share in its wealth and bounty. Take nothing for granted. If you are blessed with family, friends and food this week, it is something to be grateful for.
So, have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Enjoy the family. Celebrate your time together. Say a prayer of thanks for the gift of life and love. A great quote on this from Oprah Winfrey: “Be thankful for what you have, you’ll end having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough”
Not bad advice for this week, or any week. And hug those grandchildren.
Rabbi Richard F Address, D.Min
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.