I’m not a betting man, but I’d wager that one of the most widespread sentiments this Thanksgiving beyond the usual gratitude for loved ones will be, “Thank goodness the year 2020 has only five weeks left in it!”
Between the virus, the prolonged orgies of street violence, and the stressful election and aftermath, Americans are hoping for a fresh start—to move beyond the jarring bizarreness that marred 2020.
It may be more difficult than usual for many Americans to feel grateful this Thanksgiving, but I would humbly suggest that having the spiritual courage to be thankful in trying times is one of the best antidotes for gloom and discouragement.
So, what can Americans be grateful for at Thanksgiving time 2020? The historical example of earlier generations of Americans is helpful and instructive in this regard. The two most common themes that have stood out to me in reading about how Thanksgiving has been observed over the span of our country’s history are the religious and patriotic aspects.
In regard to the former, it's encouraging to remember how often prayer to the Almighty in times of hardship, trials, and challenges has been followed with triumphs and blessings.
A number of my fellow baby-boomers have expressed deep gratitude for having been born in this great country at a most propitious time—i.e., after World War II. We feel we hit “the sweet spot”—growing up enjoying peace and prosperity while living in neighborhoods where everybody looked after everyone else and nobody bothered to lock cars or houses.
Astounding ProgressOne indication that standards of living have risen more than simple measures of nominal income have shown is the astounding progress in the production and productivity of the transistors that have powered the digital revolution. Total global production of transistors has increased from one per human being per year in 1965 to over 20 trillion per second by 2017. A transistor today is invisible to the naked eye, yet the smaller they get, the faster they process electronic signals, and therefore the more useful they become.
In terms of cost, “In the latter-1950s, a transistor radio with 5 transistors cost nearly $500 in today’s dollars. Now, for not much more money, you can buy an iPhone that contains hundreds of billions of transistors.
More good news: There are increasingly frequent signs that the pace of progress in bio-technology is accelerating at a dazzling speed, raising the possibility of killer diseases being greatly curtailed, if not eradicated, within a very few years. Further, life expectancy may soon come close to doubling. Of course, if today’s youth live to 150, they're going to have to totally revamp the Social Security System, because taxpayers won’t be able to support 90 years of retirement, but most would say that that isn’t a bad tradeoff.
Yes, indeed, there's much for which all generations of Americans can be thankful on this Thanksgiving Day. Except for a painful detour this year, things have been getting better, and even brighter days lie ahead. There's much for which we can be grateful.
Thanks be to God “from Whom all blessings flow!”