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Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Reflections

I was watching football this weekend with a few friends when the conversation turned to Thanksgiving.  I was shocked as I heard those around me talking about how commercialized Thanksgiving has become.  Not shocked that they could say such a thing, but shocked because it was not me leading the discussion.  

That talk, lead to this post.  

Traditionally, Thanksgiving was a day set aside to be thankful for religious freedom, as well as our other freedoms and prosperities, but is that what we, in today’s society, reflect upon?  

How many of us set aside time during this holiday to meditate on all the things we are thankful for?  (I’m not talking about saying a prayer before cutting the turkey, but really evaluating all our blessings.)  

Are we, as a nation, really thankful for all that we have?  

As individuals, do we spend more time thinking about what we have, or bemoaning all that we don’t? 

Appears to me we have turned this holiday into something hardly resembling a day of Thankfulness and into a celebration of:  


Were you aware that Thanksgiving didn’t become a national holiday until 1863 (I wasn't)?  (That was during the Civil War.)  During a time of serious strife in our nation, our President established a day of Thanks because he knew we still had much to be grateful for.  Do we still know that?

Prior to this establishment, each state/territory held a day of thanksgiving, they didn’t have to be instructed; they simply wanted to express thanks, to reflect on their many blessings. 

In fact, the first documented thanksgiving feasts were held here by the Spaniards in the 16th Century (per Wikipedia).  As early as 1607 the Commonwealth of Virginia regularly celebrated Thanksgiving.  Both of these were before the pilgrims celebrated their first Thanksgiving in 1621 (which is what most of us think about when related to the history of Thanksgiving).  

Why is it that for centuries people set aside time to be thankful, to be truly grateful for all they had, and in today’s society we cram events into this holiday that can hardly resemble the gratitude those before us celebrated?  

Perhaps you truly are thankful for Black Friday Sales or Thanksgiving Football.  Maybe you vacation to see your loved ones or to see massive parades that fill your heart with joy.  

Those are wonderful things, but let’s please remember there are more important things to be thankful for, things less material, less commercialized.  

So what do you think: Has Thanksgiving become commercialized, is this an example of us losing some of our heritage?  On a brighter note, what special ways does your family celebrate this special time of year?  

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