Life is not always fair, or easy, but it is wondrous — a gift that comes somehow from the vast everything and is bestowed upon small, silly, frightened, cartoonish creatures with foolish wants, petty greed, and occasional moments of stunning beauty, generosity, and love. It is a gift to be treasured, a gift to be thankful for.

Breathe in the slightly chilly fall air, see the blue of the morning sky, the clear dark of the November night.

Appreciate it. Give thanks. Thanks for that collection of strivers, lay-abouts, fools, and heroes and that are your family and friends. Thanks for a meal to share with them, and a home to share it in — however humble, over-mortgaged or in need of a good cleaning.

Yes, there are times when it seems the wheels are about to come off the turkey.

Take a longer view. Try imagining the world that confronted those religious refugees who shared that famed first Thanksgiving with the people whose shore they’d landed on — and would, over time, steal. The great forests, the wild animals, the winter’s cold. To say things were tough would be an understatement. Still, they gave thanks. The harvest was in. The hardy newcomers saw the threats that filled the wild forests. But they also saw a land of richness, opportunity, freedom.

That land is ours. Yes, we need to work on taking better care of it. But we, too, should be thankful. Most of us live better, healthier, longer than the kings our forefathers fled from. We enjoy not only more material comfort but more freedom than the founders we admire.

So gather, eat food from the supermarket that our forefathers would have had to grow or kill with their own hands, and give thanks. There are worse things than living in a society where a week without hot showers, TV and the Internet seems like a tremendous problem.

During this holiday season, don’t forget our neighbors in need. There are plenty of chances to do some good and help others this time of year. Look for the opportunities and seize it.