EDITORIAL: Thanksgiving A day to focus on the good

Nov. 24—Every day brings joy; every day brings sorrow. Births outnumber deaths, and neither respects holidays.

Today, of course, is Thanksgiving, which in our modern American culture often seems to be more about gluttony, football and prepping for a heavy weekend of shopping than about gratitude.

We have noted in past years that Thanksgiving is rooted in hard times. The origin fable has the Pilgrims celebrating a successful harvest that staved off the possibility of winter starvation. Abraham Lincoln issued the first presidential Thanksgiving proclamation in the depths of the Civil War. Congress set the holiday in statute during the Great Depression.

This impulse — to greet existential moments with a reminder of what we have and who we are — is healthy, both for the individual and for the community. To celebrate today is not to deny our genuine problems.

No matter how much turkey we eat today or how the Vikings fare against the Patriots tonight, there will still be combat in Ukraine, a megadrought in the American West, a continuing string of mass killings, a high inflation rate that may result in a recession and unconstructive partisan division. Individuals will still suffer personal loss — fires, deaths, debilitating illnesses.

It is easy to look at such problems and despair. That makes it all the more valuable to look at the good we have and the good we do and resolve to build on those. Therein lies the meaning and importance of Thanksgiving.