Thanksgiving 2017 is in the history books.

Traditional food, lights, and stories of all that is magical about Christmas and Hanukkah and other celebrations between now and the first of the year are now foremost in our thoughts. At least for most. For some, moments of cheeriness will be threaded with melancholy. It’s important to remember through the season that not everyone has the circumstances with which to feel cheery.

As 2017 moves into closure, we can recognize it has been a year of shared tragedies around the world, although, perhaps, it has not been so very different in that regard than of years past. Consider the challenges the Pilgrims faced. For instance, it’s unlikely they had the plethora of food that most of us experienced this past Thanksgiving, to say nothing of utensils with which to eat it. Yet, they persevered and look where we are some 400 years later. Tragedies offer us lessons we are loathed to learn and yet, they seem to propel us onward. 

Our Thanksgiving, with its unspoiled tradition of expressing gratitude, offered as it always does, a recognition that for those of us living in America, we have the freedom to express our opinions. For the most part, those differing opinions are met with a peaceful divide.

Thanksgiving preparations were not only filled with marvelous anticipation but such things as deciding where everyone would sit, often settling on the great divide known as the “kid’s table” and the “adults table.” With full tummies, we pushed away at the end of a meal of turkey and its fixings or some other customary food. The day may have been marred by the failure of a “foolproof” recipe, but even as we lamented, we moved on. Some of us moved right on to an evening of televised football.

Our present Thanksgiving was much different than 1971, the year my father passed away. Sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the televised movie  The Homecoming: A Christmas Story aired. It took place on fictional Walton’s Mountain in a fictional West Virginia town. Still a little girl, I laid my head on my mother’s lap as we watched it together and she stroked my hair.

The story was centered on John Walton, the family patriarch. For this particular Christmas, he was late coming home from a faraway job. There was much angst as all wondered about his safety. Of course, as is the way of television, he arrived home just as all hope had been spent. I remember my tears filling my mother’s lap as I recognized my story would not include my father’s arrival. I resented the television family had a happy ending.  Yet, my sadness and resentment were changed through sharing it with my mother, and lifting my eyes to our decorated tree while allowing myself to see with my heart. It was not an easy task.

Holidays, mixed with sad and tragic events can make those events even more poignant.

In a store where I was recently shopping for gloves, I heard a woman humming. Her humming seemed to make all of us better enjoy our shopping. I say that because there was a young couple taking “silly selfies” with different items as they giggled and flirted. Meanwhile, I smiled and greeted those around me as I am prone to do, but with an extra feeling of joy.

I was exploring Christmas treats a little later, and the humming woman was there. “I really enjoy your humming. It brings great joy to my heart,” I said. She responded, “Well, how can anyone be anything but joyful in the midst of sadness and chaos? Look at all of the beautiful things and people around us.” She finished with, “You must keep smiling. Your bright smile brings great joy to those around you.” I felt as though we had been brought together to remind us both that we are all connected, and our task is to bring a higher vibration to the world, even in the face of tragedy, chaos, and sadness.”

As most of us celebrate one holiday or another from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, there will be the Walton Mountain stories with happy endings and sometimes not. There will be department store stories. There will be food shared.

In the end, the days ahead will not be only about food, lights, stories, and magic, but these things will serve to remind us of opportunities to raise the world’s vibration through the generosity of heart and the sharing of one moment at a time.

We are all connected.