THANKSGIVING Day falls annually on the fourth Thursday in November and was made a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln. It is a communal celebration reflecting our national gratitude for our blessings as a people.
The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the native American Iroquois Indians and the new settling explorers who wanted freedom to worship their God as they wished. These settlers from the old world were named Pilgrams and landed in 1620 in what is now Massachusetts and had suffered after landing on the New England coast from environmental ignorance. The Indians greeted the newcomers and assisted them in their quest for survival in that wild and untamed Land. Following the first year when some had died, the Indians helped show them how to farm and grow crops, fish and hunt to help their survival. They came together to celebrate and thus began the first Thanksgiving.
We can only imagine what the first Thanksgiving dinner consisted. Certainly there was an abundance of wild turkeys, deer, rabbits, a variety of fowl to hunt and the Indians who were good farmers probably introduced them to growing various crops and or supplied them for the feast. This relationship lasted for a long time but in time, with the death of some of those who sought peace and harmony by sharing a sense of both understanding and respect among them, the evils of human nature and distrust caused bloodshed and warfare broke out with some of the camps.
Today we celebrate with our family and or friends giving thanks in prayer for our many blessings and the Lord Almighty for his continuous Grace. Many travel far to visit and share this day. We find homes with deliciously prepared meals; often seen are turkey, ham, cornbread, mashed and sweet potatos, cranberry sauce, vegetables, and desserts like mince and or pumpkin pie served with your favorite beverages.
Entertainment is provided by parades, and a favorite is the football contest between the Detroit Lions and the Greenbay Packers that has become a classic Thanksgiving tradition for many Americans.
Lydia Maria Child wrote in 1844 “Over the River and Through the Woods” that was written as a Thanksgiving Day song but first appeared as a poem in a children’s book. Over time, the lyrics were sometimes interchanged with Christmas celebration and goes like this:
“Over the river and through the wood, To Grandmother’s house we go; The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh through the white and drifted snow.
“Over the river and through the wood–Oh, how the wind does blow! It stings the toes and bites the nose As over the ground we go.
“Over the river and through the wood, To have a first-rate play. Hear the bells ring, “Ting-a-ling-ding”, Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!
“Over the river and through the wood, trot fast my dapple-gray! Spring over the ground like hunting-hound, For this is Thanksgiving Day!
“Over the river and through the wood–And straight through the barnyard gate, We seem to go extremely slow, It is so hard to wait!
“Over the river and through the wood–Now Grandmother’s cap I spy! Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done? Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!”
I wish each of you, whatever your faith and belief, a special joy for this Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 2008 and to share a remembrance for all our fighting forces across the world that help to preserve the peace, justice, and values of the human spirit that is embodied in our souls.