This will appear in the Bernice Banner, Bernice, Louisiana USA, the week of 11/23/2015.

This is a horrible time to be alive; or at least that what you would think if you turn on the television and watch the news for five minutes. ISIS has become the scourge of the modern age rivaling the horde of Genghis Khan as it kills, enslaves and pillages its way across the Mid-East en-route to Europe and America. Listen to many and the economy is in a shambles despite what is being reported by our government. Family breakdown has undermined the values of our country and America is on the verge of collapse from within. Leadership from elected officials pales in comparison to what the United States had in previous years. The world is in shambles and America is leading the planet to collapse.
While much of what was just documented is true it is only partially so. It depends on how you look at our world and where you place our country in the context of this world. Is the glass half full or is it half empty. Instead of wringing our hands and looking down into a pit of darkness and despair we need to raise our heads, look at the light and give thanks at how fortunate we are to live in a country such as we have. Then we can evaluate how we can make it better. But for now let’s give thanks; and what better time than our national holiday of Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving was formally proclaimed a national holiday by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 during the middle of the American Civil War. Lincoln’s proclamation declared a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”. If ever there was a time of despair in our great and noble country, the American Civil War was that time however America took time to give thanks for what was good about it. Thanksgiving was also celebrated in 1789 following a proclamation by President George Washington.
These proclamations were built on the foundation of the first Thanksgiving which took place in 1621 at Plymouth , Massachusetts. The celebration of a “Thanksgiving” was not uncommon among the New England settlers. They would give thanks for military victories and good crops but the one we celebrate as the first Thanksgiving was a celebration held between 90 Native Americans and 56 Pilgrims. A wonderful ceremony from a people that gave thanks for what they had despite having weathered a year filled with fear, hunger, cold and death.
These Pilgrims had left England and went to Holland to find freedom of religion. They broke with the Church of England, the official religion of the United Kingdom. Eventually the Pilgrims left Holland and crossed the Atlantic and landed at Plymouth. The Pilgrim belief in separation of state and religion was in contrast to the Puritans who wanted to remain attached to the British religion. This is where we witness a great stroke of luck for our country and a major tenant for the Constitution for our great nation. The Pilgrims suffered horribly when they arrived in America. They were not woodsmen or trappers or familiar with the ways of the New World. The stroke of luck came from a Native American that lived in the area of Plymouth. The Native American was not only the man that taught the Pilgrims how to farm and hunt and fish, he was also a English speaking Catholic thanks to being enslaved earlier by the English. He held no ill feelings for this enslavement and insured that the Pilgrim colony survived. Had he not been present and given backing at the founding of the Pilgrim community, Plymouth would have possibly failed. But give thanks, Plymouth did survive, the first Thanksgiving was held and the religious doctrine of the Pilgrims became one of the Amendments of the Constitution of the United States.
Today Thanksgiving is the first Holiday of our three Holiday Season. Sharing the season with Christmas and News Year, marketing strategy has diminished the Thanksgiving Holiday. The day after Halloween the store shelves begin to fill with the wealthiest holiday of the year, Christmas. Maybe we need to slow down just a little and enjoy Thanksgiving the way it was meant to be celebrated and then the day after Thanksgiving we begin the lead up to Christmas.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Next year I plan to have a series of Thanksgiving articles as we lead up to this wonderful holiday.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s