Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
editor's pick

'Little Women:' A story of gratitude in a time of thanks

  • 0
Brent Northup mug new

Brent Northup

Little Women

BBC 2017; stream on Amazon


Grade: A

“When we feel discontented, we must think of our blessings, and be grateful.”

Those reassuring words from “Little Women” belong in our prayers around Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving has only one purpose: to be grateful.

Not grateful “to someone,” or grateful “for something,” but simply – grateful.

It’s a gift to be alive each day, knowing tomorrow is never guaranteed.

Today we leave current films behind to be grateful for Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women.”

The book begins with the four sisters “knitting away in the twilight amidst the December snow.”

"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

"It's so dreadful to be poor!" sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.

"I don't think it's fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all," added little Amy, with an injured sniff.

"We've got Father and Mother, and each other," said Beth contentedly from her corner.

In the book’s saddest scene, the ever optimistic Beth would bravely face her own death.

“Well now, mother, I go, I go. How beautiful everything is tonight.”

Sister Jo sees light even through her grief.

“I’m lonely at times, but I dare say it’s good for me.”

Yes, grieving is good for us -- a hard gift to receive, but with blessings we can redeem no other way.

The March family remains grateful, no matter what sadness comes calling.

Grateful families hold communities together.

I’d nominate Gabe and Maggie Brennan and their offspring as a local family of gratitude. Their faith, hope and lilting Irish voices inspired me when their daughter Rachel was part of my life, and inspires me still.

To reunite with the “Little Women,” head to Amazon to stream the superb BBC version, which aired in three one-hour chapters in 2017.

Faithful and pure, this slow-moving adaptation introduces the sisters patiently, tenderly.

Little Women

Emily Watson and Maya Hawke in "Little Women."

Emily Watson plays the mom who loves her daughters unconditionally and teaches them to always see the good in everyone. Maya Hawke captures Jo deeply, authentically. Angela Lansbury and Michael Gambon add elder spice to the stew.

This story ends with Marmee adopting us all.

Some chairs at the table are empty, but the March candle burns brightly.

Touched to the heart, Mrs. March could only stretch out her arms, as if to gather children and grandchildren to herself, and say, with face and voice full of motherly love, gratitude, and humility...

"Oh, my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater happiness than this!"

Let us be grateful for our bounteous blessings.


* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Listen now and subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | RSS Feed | Omny Studio

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News