The Real Thanksgiving
Did you know that there is no real Thanksgiving? Before you get upset, the Pilgrims did celebrate Thanksgiving, but not as we think in the traditional sense of a specific day with turkey and cranberry sauce and all.
The pilgrims of Plymouth were strict Calvinist Protestants and did not believe in Christmas, Easter or All Saints Day. They believed these were man made holidays, and that only when they found evidence in the Bible should there be a celebration. This came down to three types of holidays: Sunday Sabbath, Days of Fasting and Humiliation, and Days of Thanksgiving and Praise.
Both Days of Fasting and Thanksgiving had no fixed points on the calendar. These days were in response to circumstances. When the days were unfavorable and there was not enough to eat, the crops were failing, or there was disease and unexplained deaths, then a Day of Fasting was called. Everyone went to church to ask for forgiveness and guidance, followed by a modest meal. Contrary to this, when things were going well, say a good harvest or the arrival of a supply ship, a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise took place. Again, they went to church to thank God, and then celebrated with a festive meal.
In essence, there was no "First Thanksgiving," merely many different days of celebration throughout each year. The pilgrims made it a practice to give thanks. Cultures around the world shared these similar traditions of celebration of thanks.
Today, Thanksgiving has transformed from a religious celebration of thanks, to a secular cultural event of thanks. We gather in groups and with our families and are truly in a spirit of thanks and appreciation for our lives. Yet often we are not in touch with the real meaning of Thanksgiving so we don't stop to make sure that we recognize our thanks.
This year before we feast, let's take the time to share our thanks. This is not a religious exercise. This is an exercise of appreciation. Recognize that by changing your thought patterns to the positive you can accomplish anything!
So enjoy this holiday and join with family, friends and strangers alike and participate in the real Thanksgiving, by giving thanks and sharing with each other.
If you do not celebrate Thanksgiving, use this exercise at any time and if you do celebrate Thanksgiving, you don't have to wait till next year to do this exercise again.