Many cultures around the world have a form of a thanksgiving feast. Celebrations to mark a good harvest, a wedding or a birth of a child. The Wampanoag tribe helped the Puritans and Pilgrims as they arrived in America. The first Thanksgiving was held after a good harvest and a year of health and prosperity. Over the years, the two traditions of a solemn European Puritan thanksgiving would be combined with the Wampanoag celebrations to become a celebration of joyous gratitude. The traditions of Thanksgiving continued as George Washington declared the first Thanksgiving as a national holiday and it was declared every year. Thomas Jefferson would be the only president to refuse to declare a day of thanksgiving, calling it “the most ridiculous idea ever conceived.” Thanksgiving as we know it today was fixed to the fourth Thursday in November on December 26, 1941 by President Roosevelt, changing President Lincoln’s 1863 proclamation of the final Thursday in November as a day of thanksgiving.
Today, many people see it as a feast before heading out to go Christmas shopping on Black Friday. They plan their dinner around the best times to head out and stand in line. I refused to shop on Black Friday because it takes away from Thanksgiving. Many of my childhood memories of Thanksgiving were playing flag football at the park, playing on my grandparents’ swing set or gathered around the TV watching the football game. It wasn’t bundling up to wait outside a retail show to save a few hundred dollars. I want my children to have the same memories I did. I want them to look back at the fun times we have on Thanksgiving and not the craziness and insanity of people who will knock you to the ground because you are standing in their way of something they want.
Thanksgiving to me is about time with family and friends and to be thankful for the blessings that have been bestowed on us. This year, I am thankful for:
- The grace, strength and endurance that God has granted me this year. This year has been a tough one for my family and I am grateful for every little blessing.
- My wonderful husband and daughter who keep me going through dark times. I am thankful that my husband works as hard as he does so I am able to stay home with our daughter. It may not last forever but I am grateful for the time I have.
- The improving health of my friend. I’m grateful that dreams so long denied are finally coming true. Every day I pray for improvement.
- For family and friends who give and support my family in times of crisis and stress regardless of their own needs and struggles. I hope that one day I can truly repay their kindness.
Thanksgiving has different meanings to different people. Whatever it may be mean to you, please take this time to think about the little blessings in your life that you may take for granted during year. Be thankful for the job you may hate because it helps put food on the table and a roof over your head. Be thankful for the clunker of a car that still gets you from point A to point B despite its problems. Be thankful every day.