These days, our annual Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. With Christmas and New Years in close proximity, Thanksgiving can be considered the opening of the winter holiday season.
Thanksgiving was declared a Federal holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. President Lincoln proclaimed it a national day of:
“Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”
The event upon which Thanksgiving was based and called the ‘First Thanksgiving’ was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in 1621. According to an account by Edward Winslow, the celebration lasted three days and was attended by almost 100 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims. Offering thanksgiving was not a new idea as the English colonist would always have days of thanks to thank God for military victories, the end of some hardship, etc.
If celebrated in the spirit it was begun, it is firstly a day of thankfulness for the blessings we have received during the year. Unfortunately, as those years have gone by, more people forego the warmth of a family gathering in order to trample their fellow man in the pursuit of the carrot dangled before them by the many stores staying open on this day to take in our money for the sake of a bargain. Sad that a country founded on the belief of God has reduced the blessings of being truly thankful in exchange for yet another rush into the materialistic frenzy of the commercial market place.
“Give thanks frequently to God for all the benefits He has conferred on you, that you may be worthy to receive more.” St. Louis IX of France 136h century.
“One act of thanksgiving, when things go wrong with us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations.” Blessed John of Avila 16th century