Thanksgiving is to give praise
By Ted Edmonds, State Representative
We celebrate Thanksgiving next Thursday, our national holiday to give praise to our Creator for the blessings we enjoy. We all know the story of how the pilgrims and the natives broke bread together to celebrate the good harvest, but Thanksgiving wasn’t always the way we enjoy it now.
The first Thanksgiving dinner in 1621 didn’t come after a parade with floats, and it wasn’t followed by a football game, of course. The Puritans were very strict about their religion — after all, they sailed here because they felt the Church of England was becoming too permissive, and they wanted more order in their way of life.
There might have been turkey there — along with duck, goose, lobster, and whatever other meats the settlers and natives could find. There was definitely no pumpkin pie, because flour was in short supply. There was boiled pumpkin, though, and cornbread, thanks to the plentiful maize harvest.
After that, officials “days of thanksgiving” were few and far between. There was one in 1623 because of the rains that came to break a drought after a prayer service. The 13 colonies held a celebration in October 1777 to celebrate the victory over the British at Saratoga. It wasn’t until 1863 that President Lincoln proclaimed an annual holiday for the last — not the fourth — Thursday in November. Actually, Franklin Roosevelt moved it up to the fourth Thursday a couple of times, in order to prolong the Christmas shopping season and boost the economy.
The lesson is this: Thanksgiving is not a divinely defined day out of the year to express your thanks to God and everyone else for what you have. It’s the one day we’ve chosen as a nation to celebrate our blessings. Our National Day of Thanksgiving this year is November 25, but our personal day of thanksgiving should be every day. We are lucky to live in such a beautiful area of the greatest nation on earth, where we can live how we want to live and not worry about whether we’ll be thrown in jail for what we believe or who we believe in.
For that, we should all be thankful.
Even as fortunate as we are, though, there are those among us who do not enjoy quite as many blessings because of poverty, illness, or circumstances beyond their control. While we thank the Lord for our own blessings, we should also take time to consider those who are hurting right now. There are many local charities devoted to their needs, from food pantries to homeless shelters to the many churches in our community. I hope you’ll give you time, your money, or your energy – or even all three – to make their lives a better place.
If you would like to contact me with your concerns, please feel free to call my office in Frankfort at 502-564-8100, extension 818.