This doesn’t mean celebrating Thanksgiving with Fox News-watching Grandpa Bob (or Bernie-worshiping cousin Ed) will be easy. But it may, in fact, be just what we need. In talking to others who’ve regularly spent their Thanksgivings with their political and ideological opposites, some thoughtful suggestions rose to the surface: Ask lots of questions. Express heartfelt care and concern for attendees’ personal lives. Delve into family history and lore with older relatives. Ask what books people have read recently. Talk about sports, favorite films, or cooking tips. If politics come up, seek to ask more questions than you answer. Take this opportunity to try and understand why this relative believes what they do. Seek to understand how they’ve come to this point. Look for points where you might agree.
Let’s be honest: We would much rather spend Thanksgiving focusing on fuzzy warm feelings and delicious pie. But there are some larger (and harder) virtues which we ought to cultivate during Thanksgiving’s festivities. Because while our country may be fraught, fractured, and polarized, our Thanksgiving tables don’t have to be. It all depends on grace.