Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Days of Thanksgiving

Just think, it's been over 375 years since the first Thanksgiving - the three day celebration held by the Pilgrims in 1621 to celebrate their landing and harvest. Interestingly, this celebration of landing, harvest and survival was not repeated by the Pilgrims. I guess they were too busy trying to survive and brave the New England weather!

Prior to the mid-1800s, the celebration we know as Thanksgiving had nothing to do with the Pilgrims or native Americans. This beloved American holiday grew, in fact, out of a traditional English holiday that celebrated family and community. The governor of each colony or state would declare a day of thanksgiving each autumn - so that folks could formally give thanks for general blessings. As the colonists spread west in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, they took their holiday with them, governors across the country proclaimed individual Thanksgivings, and families traveled back to their original homes for family reunions, church services and large meals.

Thanksgiving finally became an official US holiday via proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. The proclamation declared the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day. Finally, in 1942, President Roosevelt declared Thanksgiving to be the fourth Thursday in November and there it remains.

Interesting, isn't it, that we share such a need for thanksgiving, family, traditions and holidays? My brush with death has engendered a real passion for these things - even greater than the zeal I've always had for them, and I can't wait to bake the turkey and make the stuffing and celebrate with those so very dear to me! I want everything to be "as it always has been" - the ritual of our gathering and celebration as a symbol of caring, joy and perserverance and the continuity of family.

Like every family, we have the usual stresses and strains, irritations and charming eccentricities. I can't wait to revel in them all - the qualities and talents - the wonders that differentiate and make us each unique. Like the yin and the yang, they are both our weaknesses and our strengths. Divinely flawed, fully human, and possessed of extraordinary and ordinary talents, we gather and celebrate that we have endured and perservered, and yes, we thrive and we go on.

Celebrate the joy of life! Celebrate the wonder of family and friends!

I have so much to give thanks for and I shall shout it from the housetops!

Thank you all and may God bless you!

2 Comments:

Blogger ben and anne said...

We are so thankful as well. every week when I get to see you at the height of your glory, i realize what a gift we all have. i know that i speak for so many when i say that i'm so grateful for you. on this thanksgiving, as i eat my tofurky, i will be thanking G-d for you and all of the healing that has taken place and that WILL take place. Thank you for giving to us so generously. I love you dearly.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Dave & Nancy Estes Park said...

Hi Pam, Roland, Mickey & Jacqui! Happy Thanksgiving! Don't we all have much to be thankful for this year! Have lots and lots of fun this week with the family all together. We'll think of you as we eat our traditional T-day Pizza!
Love to all
Dave and Nancy

3:07 PM  

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