Ten years ago, I started something of a tradition. Every few years, I’ve written a post reminding myself and everyone else about the little blessings we can be thankful for at this time of year. As in all areas of life, 2020 offered up a very different take from prior years.

So in no particular order, here are 20 things for which to give thanks.

  • If you have at least one other person with whom to gather this week, give thanks.
  • If you have a larger crew with whom you can anticipate gathering in coming years, give thanks.
  • If you have loved ones and neighbors to protect and care for, give thanks.
  • If you have gained a new awareness of someone else’s painful situation this year, give thanks.
  • If someone has shown you uncommon kindness this year, give thanks.
  • If isolation and disruption helped you notice people and experiences you previously took for granted, give thanks.
  • If, despite uncertainty about the future, you have food and shelter and loved ones with whom to Zoom, give thanks.
  • If you’ve been fortunate enough to expect an orderly transition of power even when there’s a contested election, give thanks. 
  • If you know one person who thinks very differently from you and still listens to you, give thanks.
  • If you’ve had the opportunity to work from home rather than losing your job, give thanks.
  • If your skills make you an essential worker on whom our society depends, give thanks.
  • If you have hope that the hard work of scientists and policy-makers may return our lives to something like normal in the next year, give thanks.
  • If the stresses of this year have drawn new strength and self-awareness from you, give thanks.
  • If you learned that other people matter to you more than you had known, give thanks.
  • If your stubborn independence was permanently shattered by 2020, give thanks.
  • If you have essentials like toilet paper – even enough to share with others, give thanks.
  • If you know one person who quietly and faithfully serves others at great personal cost, give thanks.
  • If you received unexpected provision in a time of need, give thanks.
  • If you see at least one way you can use some undeserved advantage for the benefit of others, give thanks.
  • If a boss or colleague cut you slack and showed you compassion this year, give thanks.

It would be easy to be dominated by sadness, anger, fear, or shame this Thanksgiving. We could let restrictions and inconveniences and losses embitter us and divide us. 

But we would be the ultimate losers if we allowed that. 

There are always things for which to give thanks. Even in 2020. Maybe especially in 2020.Be bright