1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
The First Thanksgiving
In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag shared an autumn harvest feast in gratitude to celebrate the colony’s first successful harvest. That celebration is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving in the colonies. The Pilgrims of that era celebrated thanksgiving as part of their religion.
Thanksgiving is a national holiday in various countries including the United States, Canada, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Liberia. It began as a day of giving thanks and sacrifice for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Similarly named festival holidays to occur in Germany and Japan, not necessarily on the same day.
For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. Originally those were days of prayer, not days of feasting. Thanksgiving, as we know it today, stemmed from the feast held in the autumn of 1621 by these Pilgrims.
Isiah 12: 4– 6: And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.”
On Thursday, November 26, 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation for “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer.” Beginning in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln encouraged Americans to recognize the last Thursday of November as “a day of Thanksgiving.” It’s also a celebration of the fall harvest.
Thanksgiving is important because it’s a holiday where we celebrate gratitude, a culture that is worth embracing. Gratitude is the feeling of communicating appreciation for people, circumstances and possessions. It allows us to cherish our life and makes us feel in abundance rather than deprived. As a result, we become more motivated, less fatigued and, ultimately, better off.
Why On A Thursday?
Historians believe that Thursday was chosen because it was one of the more convenient days of the week to have an annual feast. This may answer why the holiday is scheduled the way that it is, but it doesn’t explain why Thursday was chosen instead of another day of the week.
Likely, the early days of giving thanks were purposely scheduled not to interfere with the Sabbath. For the early Puritan settlers, Sunday was the Sabbath. Also, Fridays were commonly days of fasting, making them inconvenient feast days for many people.
Thanksgiving is an unusual holiday because it doesn’t always fall on the same day of the year. But unlike Halloween and Christmas, the holiday always falls on the same day of the week, Thursday.
This year, Thanksgiving will fall on Nov. 25, which is the fourth Thursday of the month. This has been the way that the date for the holiday has been determined since 1941.
Reasons to love Thanksgiving
The food is amazing. There are tons of side dishes, so there’s something for everyone. A traditional Thanksgiving dinner consists of roast turkey, turkey stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, corn, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.
The spirit of Thanksgiving is one of family, friends, love ones and inclusiveness. On the other hand, grateful people experience calmness, serenity, peace, and joy because they appreciate what they have without being too worried about what they do not have.
It is also a tradition of sharing with those who have less. They involve children in contributing to food shelters or other charities. This can help children to be thankful for what they have and learn the importance of helping others.
The Festive Week-End
Celebrated on the last Friday in November, in the United States, is Black Friday and the following Monday is Cyber Monday. A lot of commercial hijacking of a traditional religious holiday may give a sour taste, but it is far from a modern phenomenon.
The Day after Thanksgiving is not a federal holiday but is a holiday in almost half the states in the U.S. and is given as a day off by most employers. Black Friday is becoming more common as retailers use it to raise awareness of the shopping period and offer many sale bargains on that day.
The Monday after Thanksgiving, known as Cyber Monday was the most popular day for online shopping. The term was adopted while online shopping was still in its infancy. Nowadays Cyber Monday is overshadowed by Black Friday.
Parades have also become an integral part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States. Presented by Macy’s department store since 1924, New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade is the largest and most famous.
No matter how you celebrate Thanksgiving, it is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season. Remember to give thanks in all things and at all times
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