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Thursday, November 28, 2019

Have We Lost the Message of Thanksgiving?

We have a new column by Roger Carlton today. Roger is a columnist for the Graham Starr in Robinsville, NC. We enjoy his well-researched and well thought out words and ideas.

This is Thanksgiving and Roger gives us food for thought.


Regaining the Lost Message of Thanksgiving

When 102 brave Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620, these intrepid travelers had no idea of the hardships they would face. By the end of the first winter only 51 survived.

If it wasn't for the Wampanoag Native Americans showing up in a friendly manner, the survival of the colony might have been in question. A festival of sorts lasted two days in which the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims shared venison, vegetables, beer and liquor. The men held games while each group struggled to understand the language  of the other. A treaty was struck which lasted nearly 50 years. 

This first get-together morphed into a variety of celebrations. The federal government was hesitant to name a national holiday because the original intent of the celebration was to give thanks to God for the positive events of the previous year. Many people objected to the federal government sponsoring a holiday that incorporated a religious foundation. 

The editor of a popular magazine "Godey's Lady's Book" campaigned for a national holiday. On October 3, 1863, during the height of the Civil War, President Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be held on Thursday, November 26th.

President Franklin Roosevelt tried to help the Depression era economy in 1936 by moving the holiday to the third week of November thereby extending the shopping season. Thus began the commercialization of Thanksgiving. Many states refused to change the date and Roosevelt's attempt to boost sales failed after two years.

So has Thanksgiving morphed into nothing but a starting point on the Black Friday to Christmas Eve lunacy that the great American marketing machines have created?

I fear that is the truth. With appreciation for the many people who work hard to prepare a wonderful meal to celebrate the holiday, are there discussions regarding the benefits we receive from our threatened democracy? 

  • Are there thanks offered to a higher power which takes many forms in our diverse country? 
  • Are we rushing to complete the meal to beat the crowd seeking the Black Friday early deals at our local retailer? 
  • Do we ask how many turkeys the President will pardon politicizing even that great tradition.


We should all revisit the meaning of Thanksgiving and rejoice over the wonderful place in which we live.

Let's give thanks for what we have and what we can become.
My best wishes to all for the holiday season.


1 comment:

Elephant's Child said...

We don't celebrate Thanksgiving here. Which I think is a huge shame. It makes a whole lot more sense to me than the commercial affairs we do celebrate. Wholeheartedly. Despite not being a Christian, I deplore the expensive extravaganza the season has become...