Thoughts on thankfulness

As we celebrate the holidays, we often get caught up in the stress of buying gifts, preparing for guests, and hosting parties.  Very often, we lose sight of what is really important, the time we should cherish with our families and loved ones, and giving thanks for our many blessings.

Too often we take for granted the freedom and safety we have in our country.  Many people around the world do not share this blessing; even young children cannot go to school without risk, as we have seen recently in Pakistan and Nigeria.  Here in the United States, we are able to celebrate our beliefs and go about our normal lives because of the men and women who wear the uniforms of our armed forces and our public safety agencies.

At a time when we should be giving them our gratitude and thanks, politics and the 24-hour news cycle too often pull us apart, making many feel they have to “take sides.”  Most recently, we have witnessed protests across the country surrounding tragedies in Ferguson and New York City.  While most people have protested peacefully, they have been eclipsed by the senseless acts of a few – from looting and vandalism, to the horrific point-blank murders of two police officers in New York.

There should be no sides to take here.  The peaceful protestors have a right to ask questions and raise issues about these events.  This should be done in the context and acknowledgement of the bravery and dedication of the thousands of men and women who protect our streets and communities across our nation.  We should also be grateful to their families, who every day wonder if their loved ones will return after their shift.  Most of us don’t face that when we go to work; we don’t knowingly put ourselves in harm’s way, risking our lives each day for strangers.

As we celebrate the holidays, let’s take a moment to give thanks to those who guard our streets, patrol our communities and keep us safe.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!