Kent Ingle: Thanksgiving 2020 – blessings even amid pandemic, political division

As a nation, we have encountered numerous challenges over the year

Despite the political tension and uncertainty of COVID-19, we still have much to be grateful for this holiday season.  

As a nation, we have encountered numerous challenges over the year. Our COVID-19 cases are on the rise, reaching more than 10 million. We’ve lost many loved ones to the virus with over 240,000 deaths. And, millions lost jobs due to the pandemic.  

The election didn’t make it any easier. More than 70 million Americans who voted for President Donald Trump are still grappling with the election results. The political division in our nation has led to much distrust of one another and our voting system.  

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Despite all this, there are things to be grateful for. 

To start, 2020 gave us more time at home and with our families.  

As states began to issue stay-at-home mandates, most of the country shut down from March to May. Schools closed and only essential workers in most states were permitted to go to work. We were limited on the places we could go as states and countries closed their borders. Remote working became the new normal and students finished classes virtually.  

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The shift to staying home benefited our family lives. A study conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Juice Plus+ found that 66% of individuals surveyed said the pandemic brought their families closer, and 77% enjoyed spending time with their families. 

The stay-at-home mandate gave us time to reflect on what was important in life and made us slow down. Families spent more time connecting with one another, whether it was through watching TV, making meals together or engaging in outdoor activities.  

Prior to COVID-19, many working individuals said they had less than half an hour a week in free time. Nearly 60% of Americans in 2019 struggled with a work-life balance, with many even working during their vacations. Although the pandemic came with many interruptions to life, it also provided us with the opportunity to refocus on what is important. It helped us take moments to learn new hobbies, accomplish things at home we had been wanting to do for a while and nurture the relationships we have around us.  

This year also reminded us of the power of unity.  

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Staying home during the initial months of the spread was difficult. It took sacrifice. But, we worked together to provide a safer environment for those around us.  

Communities came together to take care of those who were most vulnerable to the virus by providing food deliveries. Many stores even created specific hours for vulnerable populations to shop safely. Strangers put together viral videos of encouragement, singing versions of songs like “The Blessing.” We saw creativity and a virtual community ignited around the world.  

Our more than 18 million health care workers in the U.S. continued to press on to take care of those who were sick. These individuals have worked on the front lines to protect our society. Thanks to their dedication and determination, we are seeing positive results, with the recovery rate for COVID-19 believed to be anywhere from 97 to 99 percent.  

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Although this year might not have been what we had hoped for, we can’t let our differences and negative headlines define our Thanksgiving. We have to put aside our disagreements and be reminded of all that we can do when we come together and work in unity.  

As we gather with our friends and family to enjoy an incredible meal and share all that we have experienced this year, let us continue to posture our lives in gratitude and thanksgiving. Our nation does have much to be grateful for this year.  

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