It seems that November has a holiday that’s pretty well forgotten. It’s sandwiched between All Hallow’s Eve, (Halloween) and Christmas. It’s a national holiday, (not Veterans Day) that has been given a bad rap because it is both religious and political. It’s religious because thankfulness is given to God and the political aspect is the fact that it’s a national holiday that was proclaimed by President George Washington. He called it a “day of public thanksgiving and prayer.” In this time of extreme political correctness, combined with the current interpretation of the “separation of church and state,” it seems that the powers that control public perception is working to erase Thanksgiving from our national conscience.
What these “powers” have forgotten is the fact that Thanksgiving isn’t only a Christian festival. It’s true origin comes from agriculture and the harvest festival. It’s a time of thankfulness for a good harvest celebrated by diverse cultures all around the world. So thankfulness isn’t simply a religious thing, it’s a human thing. The fact that some people are trying to change Thanksgiving to either religious or political is ludicrous. What ever happened to simple thankfulness for a good previous year? How about another year of health? Do Liberals really need to work this hard to remove God from the national picture?
The Shinto religion in Japan has a thanksgiving harvest festival called Niiname-Sai. The Zulu of South Africa celebrate Umkhosi Woselwa. Tokhu Emong is the post harvest festival celebrated by the Lotha tribe in India. Megregan is the ancient Persian Festival of Autumn. It seems that religion and harvest festivals are inseparable. These and many other festivals around the world through history thank God and celebrate friendship, affection, and love. Why are we trying to erase our own Thanksgiving festival from our national memory? Is it because it was originally a multicultural gathering of thanks involving both the Puritans and the American Indians? Without the friendship and help of the Indians, the Puritans would surely have died. They truly had cause for giving thanks.
One of my closest friends in school is an American Indian and very proud of his heritage. His family celebrated a huge Thanksgiving dinner every year. Everyone would tell what they were thankful for during the dinner and around the table. I remember one particular Thanksgiving when my family spent an entire day with my dad’s uncle. He and his wife hosted a huge dinner that served about thirty people. Then we watched football games and played outside until it became dark and we all left to return home. It was a day of good food, family, and fun. Why would we want to forget a holiday that celebrates goodness, family, and fun?
Isn’t that the real reason why we work and live our lives? To love our families and our friends. Whether you have many friends or only a few friends, they are all people we can be thankful for having in our lives. Whether your family is close and large or remote and small, our families are the universal reason why we work so hard. We all want to provide the best we can for our children. When they are older and have families and friends of their own, they can look back each year at Thanksgiving to remember friendship, family, goodness, and love. Just like they did growing up.
This is what Thanksgiving is all about. God and family. Goodness and love. Friendship and affection. The cultural powers that despise Thanksgiving and tries to downplay by ignoring it, cannot be allowed to win this battle. We can still choose to mention it in our conversations and invite our families and friends to celebrate it together around the dinner table. We can choose to remember God’s goodness. He provides His plenty for our harvest in life. Who says it’s only an agricultural festival that we can forget in our urban lives? Life is all about family, friendship, love, and goodness. These are high qualities that anyone can celebrate no matter who they call God.