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November 22 – Thanksgiving Day

Today’s Bible reading 

Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations. —Psalm 100:3-5

More thoughts for meditation about Thanksgiving Day

Without gratitude, we would not get very far along our spiritual journey, would we? It is one of the nicest things the U.S. government does for its citizens when it offers a federal holiday on the fourth Thursday of November to pause, give thanks, and celebrate what we have been given. George Washington made the first proclamation of Thanksgiving Day in 1789. It was celebrated on various dates from state to state until Abraham Lincoln synced them in 1863. Canada, as well as several other nations, have a holiday to give thanks around the traditional time of the harvest on different days.

The United States’ version of the holiday includes a unique mythology providing the central imagery for the festivities which include parades and feasts of traditional foods, usually shared among relatives. The central narrative is a re-telling of a poorly-documented account from 1621 of a treaty between the Wampanoag tribe and the Pilgrims of Plymouth colony that included a feast of thanks, friendship, and some food the Pilgrims needed.

The development of Black Friday (invented in Philadelphia!) and expansion of it to the whole weekend has also moved backward to encompass Thanksgiving. So now we are subjected to a four-day extravaganza of consumerism (and don’t forget football, its violent twin) rather than a day of thanks. Circle of Hope has a heavy streak of buy-nothing day among us as a protest to the overshadowing.

So on Thanksgiving, we look back to a sordid history of relations between Europeans and the natives of New England and we can look forward to an onslaught of consumerism. Because of this, the day becomes even more important. We must rest. We must be grateful. We must celebrate the many “feastworthy” things we have experienced this year. God is good. Let’s be grateful for the good that is given.

More?

An article from Indian Country Today Media Network “What Really Happened at the First Thanksgiving? The Wampanoag Side of the Tale” [link]

US Congress’ Legislative Process [link]

A history of the movements surrounding the Puritans and Separatists [link]

Conservative talk show host Michael Medved tries to do some reconstruction of the myth:

Suggestions for action

You can do it. See beyond the traditions, good and bad, and give thanks. Let whatever distresses you go for a few minutes and list the things for which you are grateful. Dwell on them as slowly as possible. Smile.