As you may recall from American history class, in 1621, in the state of Massachusetts, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November. In 1941 Congress set the holiday on the fourth Thursday of November.
With this history lesson, albeit brief, over let’s talk about the meaning of word…”thanksgiving”. To me it’s the act of acknowledging goodness. It’s a 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 “hard-work” ethic, self-reliant communities, and devout religious faith. Indeed, we have both Native Americans and immigrants to thank for the opportunity to observe a day of thanksgiving!
“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…… it’s about all we should cherish and be thankful for – the gifts of love and friendship.