The True Meaning of Thanksgiving



 Photo Credit: Nicole S

 
Many of us in the US are preparing for tomorrow's feast, for the gathering of friends and family and for the traditional events that surround this day we call, Thanksgiving. However, I have taken time out of my preparations to write about something I read that simply makes me crazy.  According to a Time's article, Macy's and other stores are getting a jump on Black Friday by being open all day Thursday.  

I am all for free enterprise, but please!  Keeping people from their families, from the ability to have one - yes, ONE - day off to give thanks in whatever form that takes for them, is simply wrong.  I refuse to shop on Thanksgiving. There is nothing I need that I can't wait 24 hours for it.

Several years ago, I researched the Thanksgiving holiday for a class I was teaching, I discovered an interesting fact.  Giving thanks for the harvest was NOT a pilgrim tradition.  Giving thanks was an Native American tradition!  In addition, this national holiday was proclaimed such by President Lincoln during the Civil War.  War was what brought this nation to its collective knees in prayer, but for the Native American peoples, giving thanks to the Creator was and is still a daily practice.

The corporate giants will NOT be getting my money on Thursday.  Nor will I get romanced into thinking that what I am observing, as we sit around our table, is some kind of tribute to the magnanimous generosity of the Pilgrim Fathers.  I will, however, bow my head, giving thanks for the important things in my life, as I do everyday.  I will slowly eat the meal my beloved and I will prepare together, remembering that many will go without today and for thousands of tomorrows, too.  Then, as we sit enjoying the company of a dear friend, I will pray silently that all my loved ones around the world will be blessed today, not because it is a national holiday, but because this is what I ask the Creator everyday. I will remember those whose lives where cut short by oppression, hate, disease and war. I will offer prayers for peace, as I remember the sacrifices of those who protect us every second of every day - those who will not be with their families, not because they are working so that we can spend money on things we don't need, but because they work to give us the freedom to shop or to write about how appalled we are at the thoughts of shopping on Thanksgiving.

May we all find time to give thanks - today, tomorrow and for all the days to come.  May the bounty we have be shared freely and with great joy. May we be forgiven for the times we turned away from, lashed out at or forgot the needs others. May we forgive those who hurt us with words, actions or thoughts. And, may the Love and Light of this season shine brightly from the hearts of all.

Namasté! 


Other Articles of Interest: 

 Mass Moments - http://massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=340
 United American Indians of New England - http://www.uaine.org/

Comments

"When you rise in the morning,
give thanks for the light,
for your life, for your strength.
Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself."


Tecumseh
(1768 - 1813)
Native American leader of the Shawnee
Brenda Marroy said…
Like you, I refused to take part in the senseless "shopping bonanza" that took place on Thanksgiving evening. Some stores were actually open all day.

I share in your gratitude list and thank you for posting this.
Thanks, Brenda!

I was so saddened by the news of people being injured and killed in the rampages that happened at several stores. So senseless!

Blessings to you and yours.

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