Show your gratitude tomorrow

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This Thanksgiving, take time to be thankful for more than just a good meal. Give thanks for what you’ve been blessed with and share what you can with those in need.
It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, the traditional kickoff of America’s holiday season.
Our national day of giving thanks dates back to 1621 in Massachusetts, when we believe the Pilgrims and Native Americans celebrated a successful harvest with food and festivities.
Given the economic situation, some Americans may find it difficult to give thanks, but we still have much to be thankful for – health and family and freedom, to name a few. But things are finally looking up – jobless rates in the county, state and nation are dropping – slowly, but steadily. And with the election finally over, our government can get back to working on our real problems – jobs, health care, the “fiscal cliff”and national security – rather than fighting over who gets to govern.
If you have your health, you’re truly blessed. If you have family to share the holidays with, you’re blessed again. And this year, those with military ties can be especially thankful – the war in Iraq is over and the long, drawn-out war in Afghanistan is drawing to a close.
We’ve been reminded over the last two years, with the all the frantic fighting for freedom in the Middle East, that  freedom comes with a cost. So we should be grateful for the freedoms we take for granted.
Gather with your family and friends Thursday and take time to share your blessings with them. Take turns sharing what you’re thankful for, besides the feast in front of you. If you need a primer on gratefulness, take a look at our front page and see what local folks are thankful for – mostly family, friends, God and food – the very basics many of us overlook every day.
For many, once the dishes are done from the Thanksgiving feast, it’s time to pull out the shopping bags and start Christmas shopping in earnest. The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday, when retailers cross their fingers in hope of big sales.
But for many Americans, Friday’s shopping frenzy is not a priority. Many have lost their jobs, exhausted their benefits and may face losing their homes. For them, this may not be the best Thanksgiving ever. We need to remember them as this holiday season begins. We need to show love, support, compassion and real help when they need it. It’s also up to those with fuller wallets and pantries to help care for those who need help.
Lancaster County is fortunate to have several organizations that help people in need, such as Belair United Methodist Church, HOPE in Lancaster and Christian Services in Lancaster that operate food pantries and more. These organizations need our support year-round, but especially at this time of the year.
You can make your support personal by helping a relative or neighbor. Invite them over to have Thanksgiving dinner with your family or take them food from your table. Sharing is really what Thanksgiving is all about.
However you celebrate, remember to be thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving.