As a Christian, it's such a rich season for contemplation, and yet as a person it's hard to create any sort of a space for that in the midst of all the busyness.
A good friend of mine shared with me a little ritual she does that helps her stay connected to something bigger at this time of year. It's very simple: she goes through the letters of the alphabet, and for each letter she thinks of something that she's thankful for. It could be a person, it could be an event or a thing or a place or something else. It could be something from the present, or something from the past.
It's a great exercise, I'm finding. It had me thinking the other day of a student I taught at Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, a kid I haven't seen in probably a decade, who was just so positive and upbeat and funny. The kind of person that made the whole room better just by being there. And it had me recalling how much I love a healthy scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, and a movie I once saw starring Bjork that just kind of blew my mind.
It's the kind of exercise you can do while preparing the stuffing for your turkey, or standing in line at 3 in the morning outside a mall on Black Friday, or while fighting over sale items. You don't have to get through all of it, either; my general rule of thumb is, when something comes to you, stay with it, savor it.
Our lives are filled with a million little treasures that we've been given over time. And we probably thought they were just treasures for a certain moment, but no, they live on in our memories, waiting for us to open them again.