Give thanks for freedom this Thanksgiving
Today most Americans will gather for a celebration that has become an American tradition that is very much worthy of extension.
Most of us experience more blessings than tribulation, especially in this country, and it is appropriate to give thanks for them (indeed, many traditions exhort us to give thanks for hard times as well), whether to God — as did the Pilgrims at Plimouth Plantation back in 1621 — or to whatever entity seems appropriate.
It’s interesting to remember, though, that however pleasant are the customs that have grown up around Thanksgiving, they bear little resemblance to what probably happened back in 1621.
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Americans today typically gather considerable portions of their families together, eat turkey with all the trimmings, then, loaded with tryptophans, settle back to watch football or catch up on family news, and fall blissfully asleep. Some go for “gentle” Thanksgivings that don’t involve “murdering” turkeys. Some may go to church. Most spend at least a few moments thinking about the people and events for which they have reason to be thankful.
Food is important here, but the chief benefit is the gathering together.
Our modern customs were pioneered by one Sara Josepha Hale, editor of the popular Godey’s Lady’s Book in the 1850s. She filled her magazine with recipes and sometimes fanciful tales of the Pilgrims, and she convinced President Lincoln, in 1863, to declare Thanksgiving a […]