As this Thanksgiving weekend draws to a close, it is a good time to reflect on what the original holiday was meant to be. Whether you agree with the consensus of historians that the first traditional American Thanksgiving was celebrated in Plymouth Plantation in 1621 or as early as 1607 in Virginia, it doesn't matter. At the birth of our country, the colonists gathered together to give thanks to God. There were plenty of things for which to be thankful: survival, for one, a bountiful harvest, peace, however temporary, with the local tribes of American Indians.
The point is that Thanksgiving has always been a religious holiday. Revisionist experts may claim that our Thanksgiving holiday is merely the continuation of prior pagan or primal groups' harvest festivals, but that is not the case in this country. Read the Thanksgiving proclamations by our leaders. They all mention “God” or “Almighty God”. That is who they were giving their thanks to. That's who we all should give thanks to.
Many Americans have let this holiday evolve into a day to celebrate cooking, eating, imbibing, football and family. While getting together with family members is usually a good thing, that isn't always the case. If we remember what the original intent of this celebration was, it will bring more meaning to the day. That really shouldn't be that hard to do.
We need to thank God that we live in the freest, richest and most powerful country the world has ever known. We should be appreciative of our family and friends. We must acknowledge that there are many people in our country who have not had the advantages that a good set of parents and family pass on to their children and relatives by example, discipline and nurturing. We need to be thankful for those who have overcome family disadvantages and become productive, honest members of our society.
We should acknowledge and give thanks that we live in a time and a country where we live longer and healthier lives, where we can travel freely, and express our opinions without fear of government reprisals. We should always be aware that our Founding Document, The Declaration of Independence, declared that we had the “unalienable rights” to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” We should always be cognizant of the fact that these rights are unalienable because they come from the Creator. If they came from anyone or anything else, they would not be unalienable.
Considering all we have to be thankful for, we should not limit our “Thanksgiving” to one day a year. Every morning we should thank God for all of our blessings and pray that we are worthy of them.