Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pie. Comfort food rises to top of mind when we think of Thanksgiving.

But those things create merely a feast to please the appetite.

Reconnecting with a favorite cousin, spending time with family members who live far away, listening to kids playing together, having a deep conversation with an elderly grandparent. That’s the really important stuff of Thanksgiving.

Those things create a feast to please the heart.

Thanksgiving offers us a special day to set aside petty disagreements and concentrate on what truly matters — connections with family and friends.

This is not a day to dwell on our differences, not a day for arguing about religion or politics. It is a day to celebrate each other, to celebrate personal connection.

We hope you enjoy today’s feast to please the appetite.

We hope you also enjoy today’s feast to please the heart.

Listen to your mom, dad, daughter, son, grandmother, grandfather, granddaughter, grandson, niece, nephew, cousin. Listen to their spouses and anyone else who is at the holiday gathering. Tell them about the thankfulness in your heart, listen to the thankfulness in theirs.

Give thanks for the big stuff. We’re alive. We’re living in a free society. We have freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Give thanks that we live in northwest Lower Michigan, a region that offers a bounty of scenic beauty, community spirit and economic opportunity. Give thanks that we can gather in peace.

Give thanks, too, for the small stuff. Snow arrived early this year, but this week’s thaw has cleared the roads for holiday travel. The stock market — and therefore our retirement accounts — are looking good.

Give thanks for the success of your neighbors. Give thanks that Goodwill Industries of northern Michigan just received a $1.25 million grant that will help it address homelessness in the Grand Traverse region. Give thanks for the Glen Lake Lakers football team, which on Friday will play in the Division 6 championship game at Ford Field. Give thanks that Traverse City and the surrounding area has so many willing volunteers to help our communities function smoothly.

Remember that it’s possible to maintain a spirit of thanksgiving all year long.

We don’t want to eat turkey with all the fixin’s every day of the year. But celebrating our imperfect world with a spirit of thankfulness can please the heart every day.

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