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In a year when we need grace and gratitude more than ever, 2020 is reminding us that nothing is safe.

Not jobs. Not our daily habits or rituals. Not lives.

And not family traditions like Thanksgiving celebrations.

Everyone I know is wrestling with the Thanksgiving question, only this year it's not what you are thankful for or "What can I bring?" It's whether you should get together — at all — to give thanks for life's blessings.

Each family or group of friends will have to make its own decision after weighing the experts' advice and their tolerance for risk.

By every measure, large gatherings of people who spend time together in closed spaces greatly increase the chances of spreading coronavirus. Sure, debates about the varying effects of coronavirus infection on this age group or that age group are ongoing, but holidays are about family and friends.

Hey, I'm not all that keen on mask mandates, but I'm also desperate to get through this pandemic. I mask up whenever I'm in public, and I will punt the Greeson family Thanksgiving celebration if that needs to happen.

WHAT ARE YOU THANKFUL FOR?

If you want to pass along what you’re grateful for, email your thoughts to jgreeson@timesfreepress.com and we’ll run some of them right here on Thanksgiving.

Maybe we as a country dropped the ball on coronavirus from the start. No, this is not 20-20 hindsight. I can remember early on the wisecrack that "our grandfathers stormed Normandy, and we're struggling to sit on the couch and watch Netflix" as school and business shutdowns ground life as we knew it to a halt earlier this year.

Well, perhaps we underestimated the war-like approach we needed to lick this thing. Did you know that during World War II, there were very few turkeys for Thanksgiving, as they were being shipped to servicemen abroad, and the Macy's parade was canceled because of a rubber shortage?

The battle plan for you and your family should be yours, of course, but be mindful: Next Thursday carries more risk than the usual 3,500 calories consumed per person on Thanksgiving.

If you decide to host a Thanksgiving meal, or attend one, please be safe. If family members cancel because of concerns, please be gracious. If you're the host and you punt, please realize that the frayed reactions you might hear are not pointed at you.

I want in every way to have Thanksgiving, and I pray that we do.

But even more for my family — and yours — I want us all to be here for Thanksgiving 2021 as we celebrate our gratitude for getting through 2020 and this pandemic.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com.

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Jay Greeson
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