Many would agree that during the past few years, our lives have encountered growing tension, strife, and conflict.

More and more people regard one another based on ethnic backgrounds, political persuasions, vaccinated or unvaccinated. Division seems more prominent than agreement to come together. Focusing on our differences and what we do not have leaves us feeling bewildered. So how can this change?

Thanksgiving is before us — a date on the calendar that reminds us to readopt a thankful point of view, to recall that a grateful heart is a heart close to God. This past week offered a reminder of how miraculous gratefulness is.

On Nov. 17, after spending 57 years as a prisoner in Louisiana, 75-year-old Henry Montgomery was granted parole after being convicted of murder in 1963. By all accounts, Montgomery had taken responsibility for the crime, expressed remorse, and created a good prison record. The release followed a Supreme Court ruling that sentences of life without parole for juveniles was cruel and unusual punishment and, therein, unconstitutional.

Montgomery, an example that people can redeem themselves, said after being released, “It’s wonderful. Everything has changed. It’s a whole new game.” Montgomery chose gratitude, rather than bitterness, as a means to behavioral adjustment.

Perhaps this Thanksgiving, we can agree to participate in a spiritual exercise with the goal of unity. Become prayerful in asking for the intention to treat one another with gentleness, patience, humility, and love rather than tension, strife, and conflict.

As we foster our own attitude of gratitude and pray for the grace to not become defensive toward one another, our Thanksgiving table will truly become more abundant than ever.

Peter Wibell,



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