November 26 – Thanksgiving Day! Many years ago, my mom used to say, “It’s nice to celebrate Thanksgiving as a special holiday, but even when we don’t have quite as much as others around us do, we have so much to be thankful for that it’s hard to remember all of our blessings! I think it would be much better to celebrate every day and remember that we need to show our happiness by Thanks-living!” Way back then, I didn’t quite get the point, but now with all of those years behind me, I can easily see what she meant.
Blessings are poured out on us from a never-ending supply that God has in store for each one. He sends more than an ample supply, but sometimes we forget and think we don’t own enough or have enough or need to go to more of the Black Friday specials so that we can store another item or two whether we need anything or not.
This morning as I was thinking about this wonderful American holiday, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, I was pleased that it has never been relegated to the idea of celebrating on Monday so it will be a long weekend. And, yes, I know that many people take off the following Friday so they can go bargain shopping or take a trip somewhere. But that idea is not sponsored by the government, just something workers choose to do.
What a difference from our celebration today is that of the Pilgrims, of the Plymouth Colony who were a group of English Protestants, breaking away from the Church of England. After their first move to Holland, some of the traders from England helped them to settle across the Atlantic. This group of 101 men, women, and children were on the Atlantic Ocean for 66 days. Because the winds were so strong there was a change in their plan, and they landed at Cape Cod. When trying to find food, the Puritans gathered anything they could find.
Later Samoset, an Indian leader, known better as Squanto, helped the settlers learn how to grow corn and find fish for fertilizer on their fields. In the fall some of the settlers were sent out to hunt for food for a celebration of the harvest. The Indians and settlers gathered together for three days with a meal consisting of deer, corn, shellfish, and roasted meat. No salads, no vegetables but corn, no cranberry sauce, no pies or cakes, not much of anything that we consider Thanksgiving food today. However, it was not until 1623 that the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth was celebrated.
After all of this getting together and celebration, it wasn’t till 1863 that Thanksgiving became an annual national holiday, with President Abraham Lincoln calling for that law.
Each year since we moved from Pennsylvania to Missouri, we have been invited to our daughter’s new family relations, with each one who says yes to the invitation taking along some of her/his special dishes. No difference in the plan this year. As usual, the serving table was overflowing with tempting food, with the desserts and rolls spilling over to the counters near the main table. In the next room there were nineteen gathered to have a bit of this or that, or to choose a lot of the favorite foods. Several three-generation families were there.
This was followed by desserts such as huge chocolate chip cookies and several kinds of pies: apple, lemon (all liquid in the pie was pure lemon juice with no water to tone down the goodness, making tears come to our eyes), pecan, chocolate, and Oreo crust chocolate pie with Cool Whip. As I sat on the couch resting my filled stomach, I chuckled when I saw a couple of the guys back at the dessert table, choosing more to satisfy their sweet tooth. How do they get away with that? Tall and thin, they just don‘t gain weight. Lucky guys!
After the meal, it seemed as if everyone were talking at the same time or at least trying to! So many reminiscences and stories from the older generation, from days gone by, and lots of phone messages and discussions of college and work from the younger ones. One thread of happiness flowed through all of the relatives, though. We are happy and pleased with our lives and thank the Lord for taking care of us since our Thanksgiving last year. May we never forget who gives us all of the blessings day by day, and may we so live our lives that we may claim to celebrate Thanks-living next year. – CHRIS