Thanksgiving is tomorrow, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to outline briefly some of the reasons why gratitude is something very much worth celebrating.
Gratitude calls upon us to think about what is good in our lives. Reflecting on the good is good for the heart, but it's also good for the head. Attending to the good helps us better understand what is actually beneficial and really worth striving for. Inside and outside politics, the continued inquiry into the good is essential.
Gratitude also helps us realize our own partiality and our dependence upon others. For many religious believers, the ultimate entity toward which we should have gratitude is, of course, God. However, there are other figures deserving of gratitude as well: our families, our friends, heroes past and present, kindly strangers, and so forth. We can feel particularly keen gratitude for gifts that are unearned--that are given out of the fullness of the heart regardless of our own shortcomings. We can feel gratitude knowing how much we depend on others and with hope that, despite our many flaws, charity and grace can still come upon us.