After centuries of relative peace, it was a hostile time for us. Strangers had come on large boats and were claiming our land. They did not look like us or talk like us. They did not treat the land or other relatives with the respect all life deserves. The year was 1621 and we made a choice to respond with hospitality. We invited the new people to share a feast. We brought game we had prepared. They brought food they prepared and we celebrated together. There seemed to be more hope even though the hostility did not end.
In 1863 during a time of great hostility, President Lincoln decided to respond by declaring that on the last Thursday of November the nation would celebrate a day of Thanksgiving. We survived a terrible Civil War that tore our nation apart. Hostility did not end but the hospitality gave us hope.
In 2016 a presidential election occurred that most agreed was the most hostile in their lifetimes. Election Day arrived as a day of shock for many. The hostility did not end. For some it may have become even more of a burden. And we celebrated Thanksgiving, not because we thought it would fix what is broken, but because hospitality is what Americans do on the last Thursday of November. American is great when America is good and we can each do something good today and tomorrow.
There are some divisions that feel impossible to bridge. Some opinions are so fixed it seems useless to even try to influence. The human agenda, however is not to change others or to resign and give up. It is to continue to connect, to listen respectfully and to talk with passion with those with whom we share our community.