If there was a year to leave politics at the door, Thanksgiving 2021 might be it

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Holly McLaneIf ever there was a year to leave politics at the door, Thanksgiving 2021 might be it, folks. Of course, one could make an argument that the pilgrims who celebrated that first Thanksgiving were up to their belt buckles in political strife since they effectively cast their votes by leaving their home country and a bully-of-a-king. But, if the goal of this holiday of gratitude is to host our beautifully dysfunctional families and friends under one roof (in hopes that the police don't get called)? Then perhaps there's some benefit to thinking ahead, so our mouths are operating in agreement with our minds when that fateful day of feasting arrives. And, whether you are the host, the hostess, or the fortunate guest-that-gets-to-dine-and-dash-before-the–dishes-need-to-be-washed, let us consider some conversation "dos and don'ts" that will not only keep us all in the will, but also in the GOOD-will of the people that should matter most to us in life.

A wise man once said, "What happens in cradles and kitchens will prove to be more effective than what happens in Congress." So, with that perspective in mind, DO say things like, "Tell me about your kids!" "What have you been learning lately?" "What's on your bucket list for 2022?" And, for the best possible relational results, avoid topics such as your least favorite president, your position on gun control, birth control, weight control, Ducks vs. Beavers, or the latest riot in Portland.

These instructions may sound elementary enough, but better to be safe than sorry (and well-rehearsed) when it comes to the careful and considerate handling of the beautiful hearts and souls that will be in our midst this holiday season. 

Finally, we would all do well to remember the words of Francis of Assisi, who challenged humanity to make it our goal to be "instruments of peace" in a world hell-bent on sowing seeds of hatred. So, let's confidently wrap those we care about in arms of love and pardon, effectively blowing away doubt with our faith. And how about filling up chasms of despair with hope by our generous offering of reconciliation, no matter what kind of disunity others may bring to the table? Because who cares if we are ultimately the ones consoled or understood if the best gift lies in the giving of grace?

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