For many of us Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate getting out of school for a long weekend and eating a great dinner. Thanksgiving also marks the start of the Christmas holiday season with Black Friday shopping at retail stores and Black Monday shopping online.
While supporting the economy is an admirable thing to do, we must keep in mind the origin and true significance of Thanksgiving.
The origin can be traced back to 1623 when Governor William Bradford of the 1620 Pilgrim Colony proclaimed, “All ye Pilgrims with your wives and little ones, do gather at the Meeting House, on the hill… there to listen to the pastor, and render Thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all His blessings.”
Many years later on October 3, 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared by Act of Congress an annual National Day of Thanksgiving “on the last Thursday of November, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”
With this condensed history lesson over, let us talk about the meaning of word “thanksgiving”. To me it’s the act of acknowledging goodness. It’s a simple prayer to God for the blessings He has bestowed on me and my family.
I hope that as you celebrate this special holiday, you will take the time to count your blessings be they large or small – that you retain the original gratefulness to God displayed by the Pilgrims and many other founding fathers, and remember that it is to those early and courageous Pilgrims that we owe not only the traditional Thanksgiving holiday but also the concepts of self-government, the ethic of hard-work, self-reliant communities, and devout religious faith.
The “Thanksgiving Visitor” by Truman Capote. This masterpiece short story, published in 1967, was inspired by Capote’s childhood in rural Alabama in the 1930’s. It’s a story about the lessons his elderly eccentric cousin taught him and how we should cherish the gifts of love and friendship.
Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well by Sam Sifton. The author is a former restaurant critic for The New York Times. In this book he details recipes for cooking the perfect turkey (as well as all the other classic Thanksgiving side dishes), and gives tips on how to set the table and the right way to divvy up leftovers.
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson, Judy Schachner (Illustrator)
Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas