Monday, November 22, 2010

My Annual Thanksgiving Homage

I repeat this story every year only because the feeling of frustration still engulfs me whenever I think of how people truly believe that Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday.
So, here it is again for another run - - - - - -

A number of years ago, around 1993 or '94, we had a discussion at my previous job about the Thanksgiving Holiday. A co-worker made a comment that of all the holidays of the year, he loved Thanksgiving the best because it was about eating and family and only about eating and family. I threw in that it was also about giving thanks to God, hence the name Thanksgiving. He adamantly denied this, stating that religion had absolutely nothing to do with this holiday. I asked him who did he think the pilgrims were giving thanks to, of which he replied, "To the Indians!"

I told him, “No, not to the Indians. Being puritans who advocated strict religious discipline, the pilgrims would not have given thanks to the Indians themselves, but rather to God for sending the Indians to them to ensure their survival.”

Now, anybody who has an ounce of knowledge about the puritans would know they would not give thanks to mere mortal man. this point, other co-workers stepped in and took sides against me. As seems to be the norm in this day and age, I found myself in the minority in my belief - even with all the proof I had - and pretty much smiled and nodded and said, "You can revise history all you want, but the truth is there to be found if you'll search for it. But, I know you won't, so you'll go on believing what you perceive to be correct but in reality, is false."

I do realize that not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving as a religious holiday, but that doesn't take away the fact that it truly is a religious holiday, and thanks was given to God for the bountiful feast at hand and for those who helped in the growing and harvesting of it.

A bit about Thanksgiving feasts:
Although this feast is considered by many to the very first Thanksgiving celebration, it was actually in keeping with a long tradition of celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops.
Native American groups throughout the Americas, including the Pueblo, Cherokee, Creek and many others organized harvest festivals, ceremonial dances, and other celebrations of thanks for centuries before the arrival of Europeans in North America.
Historians have also recorded other ceremonies of thanks among European settlers in North America, including British colonists in Berkeley Plantation, Virginia. At this site near the Charles River in December of 1619, a group of British settlers led by Captain John Woodlief knelt in prayer and pledged "Thanksgiving" to God for their healthy arrival after a long voyage across the Atlantic. This event has been acknowledged by some scholars and writers as the official first Thanksgiving among European settlers on record.
Whether at Plymouth, Berkeley Plantation, or throughout the Americas, celebrations of thanks have held great meaning and importance over time.

The Mayflower Compact:

"In ye name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread soveraigne Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britaine, Franc, and Ireland king, defender of the faith, etc."

"Haveing undertaken, for ye glorie of God, and advancemente of ye Christian faith, and honour of our king & countrie, a voyage to plant ye first colonie in ye Northerne parts of Virginia, doe by these presents solemnly & mutualy in ye presence of God, and one of another, covenant & combine our selves togeather into a civill body politick, for our better ordering & preservation & furtherance of ye ends aforesaid; "

"and by vertue hearof to enacte lawes, ordinances, acts constitutions, & offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet & convenient for ye generall good of ye Colonie, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience."

"In witnes wherof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cap-Codd ye 11th. of November, in ye year of ye raigne of our soveraigne lord, King James, of England, France, & Ireland ye eighteenth, and of Scotland, ye fiftie fourth. Ano: Dom. 1620."

And this, by the way, from President Lincoln 1863:
"I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union."

Abraham Lincoln

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my blogger friends! May God Bless and keep all of you.



Civil Folks said...

Thanks, Ken. Wonderful post.

For me and my house, who serve the Lord, it is absolutely a religious spiritual)holiday. In fact, I think I like it more than Christmas celebrations because there are no gifts, no decor in the way, no obligations, no expectations. Just a wonderful day of family and thankfulness to a Creator god for all that He has done, is doing and will do for us throuhout eternity.

Blessings to you and your family,
Frank and Pamela

Daibhre Mac said...

(And thank YOU for a wonderful blog.)

Historical Ken said...

Thank you both!

ladyestelle said...

And may I wish you and your family a plentiful Thanksgiving.
I am grateful for our friendship.