Thursday is the day we as a nation have set aside to give thanks for all that we have.

For some, it’s no doubt a little more difficult this year than in years past. If you or your loved ones haven’t been hit directly by the Great Recession, the guess here is that you know someone who has.

It’s difficult to be thankful about that.

But while statistics and numbers continue to suggest our situation may getting worse — not better — the fact of the matter is this:

The vast majority of us are still surrounded by bounty. Family and friends. A place we call home. Food on the table and the warmth of being in the company of our loved ones.

It would be wrong not to appreciate at least that much.

No doubt, many of us want “more.” More money, more goods, more of everything we don’t have. In some respects, it’s the American way. Move up, move on, get more.

But many of us — and count me among the guilty — don’t often take the time to remember that while we may want more, we honestly have enough.

Enough to get by. Enough to stay warm and dry; enough that we don’t go to bed hungry. Enough that when we get up in the mornings, we can concentrate on the task at hand — school, work or whatever else the day may hold — and not be consumed with mere survival.

Certainly enough that much of the world would still consider itself lucky to be in our shoes.

Thanksgiving came about when the very earliest settlers in our country came together to give thanks for having enough. They had enough to get through a difficult winter; enough to establish the first footing of a foundation that would someday support the greatest country on earth.

It was never easy, but they never gave up.

Today, that country is beset by problems. Unemployment lines seem to be growing while incomes seem to be shrinking. We have health care issues, energy issues, education issues. We chastise the wealthy because we want (or think we deserve) more, and the rift only seems to be growing.

But when we get right down to it, most of us — in fact, the vast majority of us — still have enough.

Enough, anyway, that many of us are able to give a little to those who don’t. We’re able to pitch in and help out those who honestly don’t have enough to get by today and may not make it through tomorrow.

This weekend, I’ll eat more than I should and spend time with those who are most important to me. I’ll connect with family far away and let them know I am thinking of them. I’ll call old friends and touch base with new ones. I’ll try to do something for those who need help and try to make a difference in some fashion.

Then, I’ll do my very best to remember to be thankful for each and every one of those things.

Here’s a heartfelt hope that each of you has the opportunity to do the same.

Happy Thanksgiving.

A reminder that it’s not too late to volunteer or pitch in to the annual Thanksgiving Community Fellowship Dinner. It runs Thursday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Hermiston Senior Center.

Organizers emphasize that everyone is welcome. If you’d like to volunteer in some fashion, or just donate to the effort, call Laurie Ball-Kiser at 541-567-8600. To schedule a ride to the event or meal delivery, call First Christian Church at 541-567-3013.

Coming up Friday is the Festival of Lights parade, which officially opens the 13th season of the Festival of Lights.

The parade begins at 6 p.m. at Newport Park and finishes at the Umatilla County Fairgrounds.

The Festival of Lights is a neat event that’s become a part of Hermiston’s holiday tradition. As organizers note, it gives families something to enjoy that doesn’t cost a lot (it’s actually free, but donations are accepted).

The festival will run each Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the fairgrounds through Dec. 23.

Another good cause that is combined with a good time for participants is the Echo Toy Run. The eighth annual event, set for Dec. 3, sends motorcycle riders from Echo to Good Shepherd Medical Center, and the cost of participating is an unwrapped toy. For more information, call 541-571-1820.

Know of something we need to be reporting? A piece of news you’d like to see in the Herald? Drop me a note at nwoelk@hermistonherald.com or call me at 541-564-4533.

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