Thanksgiving is a busy day.
Hours in the kitchen preparing those favorite foods. Travel to make it home for that big meal, or multiple meals for many.
There’s setting tables, doing dishes, lugging around those chairs you use only once a year.
And then the football on TV, the games in the yard, cards after dinner, or a movie for the kids.
It is so busy that sometimes our giving thanks gets short shrift. Sure, there is the obligatory grace declaring our gratitude before we eat — or at least a round of “what I am thankful for.”
Like the night prayers of little ones, we try to cover all the bases. We mention our family, our friends, and the generally good life we have been given.
And then we go back to eating and doing.
That’s all good. The sacrifices we make and the fun that we have are unspoken proof of our gratitude.
The problem is that there isn’t enough time to reflect on all that we have been given — not just what we have today, but the flow of boon and bounty from time immemorial that got us to today.
It took a star massive enough to attract the orbit of planets.
It took a mammoth collision between Proto Earth and a rock called Theia to form our earth and moon.
It took our planet landing in the “Goldilocks zone” — not so close to the Sun to have the searing heat of Venus or so far as to have the icescape of Mars.
It took the Great Bombardment, the eons of meteorite blitzkriegs to stir up the amino acids and heat the primordial soup for the beginnings of life.
It took a molten magnetic core to protect the atmosphere and make a habitable earth.
It took the Great Oxygenation for microbes to produce an environment to welcome breathable life.
It took our ancestors leaving the savannahs of East Africa to begin the history of human migration.
It took our distant forebears surviving ice ages, droughts, plagues, and constant wars, with an unrelenting hope.
It took chance meetings between men and women, marriages they staked their futures on, and uncounted generations of commitment to children to bring about grandparents, parents and finally us.
Given the millions of reasons over billions of years why we should not even be here, we should take a day, a week, or maybe a lifetime, to be grateful that we are.