In these modern times so many of our holidays have devolved to little more than shopping extravaganzas and the occasional football game. Thanksgiving has not been spared this treatment, as the “Black Friday” sales slipping into Thanksgiving Day demonstrates. It is so easy to think of nothing more than that and look forward to a big meal. I call upon my fellow Americans to resolve to do differently this year.
Thanksgiving wasn’t the name of a holiday in late 1621 as those 53 pilgrims paused to reflect on the bounty before them. Thanksgiving was an action, a recognition that what they had was something to be thankful for. It was a remembrance of who, exactly, they were thankful to and a conscious extension of that thanks in no uncertain terms or manner. They gave thanks to God for their ability to persevere, the gift of friends in the form of the Indians who had offered them such assistance and at so critical a time, and for the plentiful harvest that would see their families through a winter far less grueling and deadly than the one before. It was thanks for leading them to a new world and watching over them as they began to thrive within it.
We are a far more diverse people than those that offered up that first Thanksgiving but we certainly have no less to be thankful for. Though far from perfect we live in a nation above all others in the freedoms we enjoy and the opportunities available. On this day, this one particular day, I set aside the work and worries, the politics and strife, and the contention that faces me daily so I can enjoy my family and reflect on the bounty my life has been thus far. Most importantly, I offer up my own Thanksgiving to God for all that I have, all that I’ve been given, and all that I’ve worked so hard to achieve. All of it, I am thankful to Him for and, today, I’m saying so explicitly.
I call upon you, my fellow Americans, to recall this day those things you have to be thankful for and take special note of each and every one of them. Cherish the family and friends and the freedoms you possess. This truly is a day to celebrate those things and that you live in the country most able and motivated to protect and extend them. Happy Thanksgiving!