There are two great poles in religious existence: redemption and thankfulness. Redemption constantly calls on us to make our lives and the world around us better and more holy. Thankfulness forces us to be content with what we have been given.
Thanksgiving accentuates our ability to feel at ease, at peace, and OK with where we are at in life. It forces us to take a step back and appreciate–for one day, we stop attempting to achieve, fix, repair, or even improve. Thanksgiving means feeling blessed and celebrating the present.
So no matter how bad things are going in Iraq and no matter how difficult this year has been for our country, at Thanksgiving we remember just how much we have to be grateful for.
If I could sum up Thanksgiving in one line, it would have to be “He who is rich is one who is content with his lot” (Ethics of Our Fathers 4:1).