The season of growing is over. September harvest is past. Crops, fruits and vegetables are gathered in. Animals are settling into their dens for the cold season; winter is fast upon us.
It is the season where Americans traditionally look back, reflect, and give thanks for the blessings of the year. In this country, giving thanks is a tradition with roots stretching back to the earliest English speaking colonies on the North American Continent. The most popular story attributes the first thanksgiving celebration to a feast celebrated by Puritan settlers at Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts with the local Native Americans in 1621. An older less-well known story attributes the first thanksgiving to a celebration by arrived colonists in Virginia on December 4, 1619.
Regardless of origin, the tradition of pausing to give thanks to almighty God was firmly fixed in the American character by the mid-ninteenth century when President Abraham Lincoln requested "fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens."
So it is that we today set apart the final Thursday in November to gather, feast, and give thanks for the blessings of the past year, for food, for family, for friends, and for freedom. We give thanks for health and happiness, for trials overcome and for strength to endure trials in the future. Sometimes, survival itself is sufficient reason to give thanks.
Each year, I sit and make a list of things for which I am thankful and why. During the year, when I need to, I pull out and review my list. Doing so always gives me a lift.
Will you join me?
Will you write your own list of things for which you are thankful?
What will be on your list?