Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Good Stories

It's Thanksgiving! And it's not just about food. I swear. Thanksgiving has a rich history and good things that transcend green bean casserole.

2) Not just a harvest festival
Its roots as a national holiday are grounded in thankfulness to God.

We all know the pilgrim/indian story. In 1621, the Plymouth colonists, religious separatists all, and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states.

It was September 25, 1789, when Elias Boudinot introduced to the United States House of Representatives the case for giving thanks to God. His strong resolution declared:
"that a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States, to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a Constitution of government for their safety and happiness."
In response, on October 3, 1789, George Washington issued a proclamation designating the first day of prayer and Thanksgiving. It wasn't until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

3) Thankfulness in the face of difficulty
The pilgrims arrived in September 1620 after over two-months at sea. The winter was so brutal, most stayed aboard ship where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original 102 passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March 1621, the remaining settlers moved ashore and established a colony at Plymouth. They gave thanks.

In the day of Elias Boudinot, the USA was a fledgling nation, barely six years old. The country was recovering from war. The post-war economy was in sorry shape. Jobs were scarce. They gave thanks.

It was in the midst of the Civil War, among the darkest days in this nation's history, that President Lincoln established Thanksgiving Day. With the nation divided along geographic, social, economic, religious and idealogical lines - they gave thanks.

1) A long weekend
What does a long weekend do, anyway? Psychologists (and the travel industry, naturally) have said that several short breaks can do a body more good than one big one. Humans need downtime, frequently. In international vacation comparison charts, the United States is typically around 13 days per year, compared with Britain’s 26 or Italy’s 31.

I don't know about you, but I feel gloriously refreshed after the long weekend, whenever I take one.

Sue and I both wish you and your friends and families a wonderful, restful, full... Thanksgiving!

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