Thanksgiving 2017: What Will it Mean to You?

Thanksgiving 2017: What Will it Mean to You?

Did you know that Thanksgiving doesn’t originate out of just one historical event? In fact, if you dig into history you may find some controversy and discover that there were multiple traditions that led to the establishment of Thanksgiving.

Following this article is a list of some of the historical events that moved us toward this national holiday. Within these traditions you will notice gratitude for food harvested from the earth, gratitude for safety and life and lessons shared about how to survive in a new world, gratitude for freedom, and awareness of the needs of those that are vulnerable and need care and those who mourn, who suffer, and who need the healing of wounds. The stories of giving thanks inspire our gratitude, our humility, and our compassion.

In spite of any historical debate regarding the origin of Thanksgiving, within the events below is a powerful story line that is compatible with the Gospel of Christ. God is the giver and we are the receiver of all that is good. Because of what we have received, we can give to others. Because of our need, we can be aware and concerned about the needs of others.

This Thanksgiving I challenge you to open your heart in gratitude for the gift of life, those who sustain you, and open your eyes to those that may need of your care. This Thanksgiving, consider opening the doors of your heart and your home even wider than before. For instance, you might reach out and invite 1-2 service members, an international student, a neighbor who lives alone, an older adult, a young adult, or a couple without family nearby. Whatever actions you take to create Thanksgiving 2017, I pray you will give and receive the best of what the holiday means.

In His Love, Vicki

Inventing Thanksgiving:

• There were many traditional harvest celebrations in England prior to the arrival of the Mayflower in the new world.

• In 1621 a Native American known as Squanto, of the Pawtuxet tribe, taught Pilgrims how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants.

• In 1621 there was a celebratory feast when the first corn harvest proved successful.

• In 1623 there was a celebration to mark the end of a long drought.

• Days of fasting followed by thanksgiving became common practice in some New England settlements.

• During the American Revolution the Continental Congress designated there be at least one day of thanks each year.

• In 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States (John Adams & James Madison also designated days of thanks during their presidencies.)

• In 1817, New York became the first of several states to oofficially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday. (Though celebrated on a different day.)

• In 1827, noted magazine editor and writer, Sarah Josepha Hale launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. (For 36 years, she published editorials and wrote to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians.)

• In 1863, at the height of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln entreated all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939

• In 1939 Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. However, his plan was met with opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the 4th Thursday in November.