23 November 2011

The Act of Being Thankful

As I tie on my apron today, preparing pies and relishes, stuffing and bread, I find myself reflecting on the reason I am doing all of these preparations. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. A holiday that, I think, may be becoming one of our most confused holidays of the year. We all know the story of the "First Thanksgiving." Very few people seem to know of Thanksgiving's later story and what gives the holiday the decided "flavors" it has today. The intended sentiments of the holiday are so simple, yet sadly we have moved so far from these ideals with the inundation of football and Black Friday sales. Where have we gone and what should we seek to regain in this oh so simple day?

Pilgrims and Plymouth Rock aside, Thanksgiving is about so much more than our school days history lesson. The holiday was not even formalized until 1863 at the urging of a most vociferous woman, wife and mother, Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale. Mrs. Hale spent her life extolling the virtues of simple domestic pursuits, championing the institution of family and fostering fierce national pride! While days of thanksgiving had been celebrated throughout the early colonies and states, Mrs. Hale envisioned a greater symbolism for a day of thanks. She quite literally campaigned for a day to bring families together, symbolically uniting our nation as a family of sorts and celebrating the simple act of being thankful.

Whether you are spiritual or not, have a little or a lot, are young or old, man or woman, there is nothing wrong with being thankful. The religious inclinations of our forefathers should not deter any person from taking a moment out of their busy day to find something good about their life and say a little thanks. It doesn't matter if you say those thanks to someone, it is only important that you say them. In fact, for those of you who banter endlessly on my Facebook page about the merits and purposes of Christmas and Halloween and every other day of the year, stop to reflect on the fact that Thanksgiving is simply on the last Thursday of November. Any religious connotations attached to it were and are purely in the heart of the first celebrators and those who still lift up their thanks to God. Reflect on the intent that this should be a day to unify families of all sorts and our greater national family, to find the good in life from the smallest domestic pursuit to the incredible notions as big as faith and freedom! Take a moment to remember what Thanksgiving is not about too! (Even if you are thankful for football and sales!) Take a moment to really revel in the pure simplicity that should be Thanksgiving. Maybe you will even decide to boycott the stores and their Black Friday sales that tear families away from the table and more or less eliminate a day of rest and celebration in the pursuit of profit, fueled by material greed. Perhaps instead you will choose to spend the day with your loved ones, creating memories that can never be bought or sold, silently speaking out for the things you value and believe in.

As we sit down to dinner, I hope more than one will reflect on the innocent joy there is in sharing a meal. How few people, much less families, still share a meal? How much can we gain through this simple act? The connection over a shared meal can be indescribably more fulfilling than any electronic connection we may make throughout a day. I, personally, think love can actually be spread through homemade pumpkin pie! Revel in the satisfaction there is in making something with your own two hands to nourish people you love! The pure and simple nature of Thanksgiving should carry with it no commercial agenda, it should be as religious as you wish to make it, and it should remind us of the simplicity and joy of being with people we cherish. Your family may be your relations or it may be the family you have chosen for yourself. Your thanks may be many, or your thanks may be few. But to be thankful is a great thing. Let Thanksgiving be just that, about simple thanks and simple fellowship. Let us all give thanks and pass the pumpkin pie!


  1. Your post was well written and impressive. I had a great time reading it. Big thanks for sharing.

    Charles A

  2. Thank you, Charles A. Your comment is appreciated!