I still think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday


In this country, unfortunately, today is a work day like any other.

I live in a small village near Zürich, Switzerland, with my wife and dog, and on Thursday morning I will be getting on the train, as I do every morning, and will be heading to my office.

The train will be filled, as it is every morning, except Sunday, and so I will stand for the twelve or so minutes that it takes to reach Stadelhofen station, which is a short walk from my office. I will read the tabloid-sized newspaper, 20 Minuten, which is available free on the train platform, or I will listen to German-language podcasts on my iPod. Either way, it is a pleasant enough ride, and I enjoy it.

There’s no need to feel sorry for me for missing Thanksgiving in the U.S. this year. I live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and it is especially beautiful at this time of year, with Christmas lights and markets and something called Glühwein (look it up). Every day from the windows of my top-floor flat I can see Lake Zürich below and the snow-covered mountains beyond. Some days, when I am tempted to take that view for granted, I have to remind myself that living here has been for me a dream come true.

So, am I thankful this year? You bet I am. I am thankful for being able to live here, I am thankful for meaningful and challenging work to do, work I believe in and feel passionate about, and I am thankful for the people with whom I get to do this work.

Beyond that, I am thankful for my family. I look forward to talking with a few of them later today through the technological miracle known as FaceTime (thank you, Apple). And I will study the faces of my daughters, and they will pretend not to notice if I cry when I see them. They are both married and live too far away, but we talk regularly, share photos about our lives on Instagram, and commiserate about election results. I love them more than I can say.

I will also be seeing my three-year-old grand-daughter, via Facetime, and if she’s in the mood, she will sing me a song – maybe “Jesus Loves Me” (which she is learning in the Cherub Choir at her church). I love her too, more than I can say.

And then there is the grandson, who will make his debut into the world early in the new year. I am thankful for him already. (No, the truth is, I am coming out of my skin with excitement.)

I have people in my life who love me and care for me and keep me honest. I am especially thankful this year that we were all in agreement about the election and who should win.

Is there more? Yes, too much to include here, though I will mention my health because older people tend to do that. And you should know that I am thankful for my faith too. I don’t see how I could have made it through the last year without it.

Happy Thanksgiving to all! It’s a good holiday, whether you’re a U.S. passport holder or not. It’s a good idea to start the day by remembering what there is to be thankful for.

(Photo: On Thursday night at 6:00 the Christmas lights on Bahnhofstrasse – called “Lucy” for some reason – are switched on, and that’s pretty cool.)

About Doug

I have been a writer ever since fifth grade when I won second prize in a “prose and poetry” contest. I am also a Presbyterian pastor, and for several years toward the end of my career I lived and worked in Zürich, Switzerland. I am now retired and live just north of Holland, Michigan, along the lake.

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12 Responses to I still think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday

  1. Lisa Blake November 24, 2016 at 9:28 am #

    Happy Thanksgiving Doug to you and Susan! I’m grateful you were part of my journey.

    • Doug November 24, 2016 at 10:46 am #

      And thankful you were part of mine!

  2. Kathy Smith November 24, 2016 at 9:36 am #

    Happy Thanksgiving, Doug! Enjoy some gluhwein for us!! 🙂

  3. Doug November 24, 2016 at 10:49 am #

    Thanks, Kathy. But I think I enjoyed enough during my first Christmas season here to last a few years!

  4. icaregion1 November 24, 2016 at 10:50 am #

    And I love the humble and so very wonderful way you connect with the many people you have touched. Happy Thanksgiving to you Doug. You teach us so much everytime you post.

    • Doug November 24, 2016 at 10:54 am #

      Bless you, Jeff.

  5. Mike November 25, 2016 at 9:48 am #

    We’re sorry to have lost you Doug but we’re thankful you found your way to Fort Lauderdale to hang out with us for a little while…and be Dougie Fresh to our kids.

    • Doug November 28, 2016 at 12:20 am #

      Am thankful for the time spent hanging out with you, Mike. And thanks for reading (and commenting).

  6. Paul November 26, 2016 at 12:24 am #

    Same unpretentious, humble and faithful man I admired and respected so much when you were in Fort Lauderdale!

    • Doug November 28, 2016 at 12:22 am #

      Am still wearing my Clean Caribbean shirt at the gym! Thanks for the kind words, Paul.

  7. Sally McClintock-Snyder November 30, 2016 at 9:01 pm #

    This article was a very good read; I always enjoy your writings. Thank you.
    Sally McClintock

  8. Charles Scouten December 1, 2016 at 12:42 am #

    What you write touches so many of us in special ways. These days it’s sometimes hard to remember that Christ came to teach being inclusive, not to reinforce exclusivity. Thank you very much. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Susan and your wonderful extended family!