Thanksgiving: a time for reflection, giving thanks

by Gary Kennedy

Well, it’s that time of year, again. I am sure most of us don’t give Thanksgiving much thought. It happens every year and we tend to do the same things for each and every one of them. Generally, we join family and friends, those we love and care. It’s generally a time of joy and well being. It’s a time of sharing those tasty treats that we all believe are better than anyone else’s. Of course, all present will compliment and state that they have never tasted better. Secretly, they will say, “It’s good but mine is a little better. Oh well, that is just part of our competitive nature, no harm intended.

Lately, being an international volunteer, I have been giving a lot of thought to the word, “Thanksgiving.” Was the word intended that way or was it intended to actually be two words, Thanks and Giving? What we do know is that it was a pilgrim thing and became synonymous with the meal of the time, turkey. It has become more evident as of late why that happened. The little critters have been reintroduced to Maine and have become extremely prolific. They are everywhere, it seems. Soon they will be eating out of your hand. There are mixed reports on how they taste.

Anyway, that being said, let’s get back to the word Thanksgiving. It seems it’s a word saying thank you and a word suggesting giving. It seems to me it should be GivingThanks Day. In any case, what does it mean to you? It seems to be indigenous of the United States with origins in the original colonies; or is it? Can you imagine how tough the times were back then? They had drafty log cabins, open wood fires, handmade clothes and food was very hard to come by. Still, they created Thanksgiving Day, a day of reflection, thanks to the Creator and for what little they had. It was a time of celebration with family, friends and neighbors. It was a time of collective participation and the sharing of the foods that they had available at that time.

Well, times have changed and the population is far greater than those times. However, has the spirit of this great holiday been diminished? If so, then it is time we got back on track and remember what we have been given and also be aware that even in this day and age there is still the drafty cabin and lack of food among us.

Take time during this holiday season to think of others. Make your holiday a great one in the knowledge that you have made someone else happy. Find a way to give to some family you don’t even know. Doesn’t just the thought bring a smile to your face?

As we know Thanksgiving here had its ups and downs. President George Washington was in favor of the holiday, but later, President Thomas Jefferson eliminated it during his time in office. He felt that public demonstrations of piety to a higher power, like that celebrated at Thanksgiving, were inappropriate in a nation based in part on the separation of church and state. Subsequent presidents agreed with him. In fact, no official Thanksgiving proclamation was issued by any president from 1815, until October 3, 1863, when Lincoln took the opportunity to thank the Union Army and God for a shift in the country’s fortunes. In the meantime, the concept continued in the hearts of many, and was continued on a personal level. Later, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a legal holiday, on the fourth Thursday of November.

Actually, one of the first Thanksgivings for us was held in Virginia in 1620 and later in 1621 by the Pilgrims and the Native American tribes such as the Wampanoag. There were 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrim at the Virginia event. There were originally 102 Pilgrims that landed on Plymouth Rock by mistake, intending to join with the settlement in Virginia. However, they stayed and more than half died during the first winter. The second year, with successful crops and the help of the the Native Americans, they prospered, and began the official Thanksgiving that we know. Remember this event was giving thanks to God for all his blessings.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some religious information here. In John 10:22, Jesus Christ was present at a Jewish celebration feast of dedication which was a Thanksgiving of the purification of the temple. Thanksgiving Day is a day that is set aside for the enjoyment of family and friends while at the same time thanking God for the blessings of his bounty. King David wrote in Psalms, “Let us come before his presence with Thanksgiving.” Verses you could review are: Psalms 95:3, 100:4, 107:1, 8-9;  also Phil. 4:6 and Eph. 5:20. These are some of the many ancient religious citations pertaining to our Thanksgiving. I use the word OUR as there are several Thanksgiving events of not only religious but also Pagan origins. I mention the above citations so that we can remember other true reasons why we use the term Thanksgiving. I personally, firmly believe that forgetting this would be a very costly mistake.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving from all of us but don’t forget to give praise and thanks for all we have and enjoy. Always realize during festive occasions of celebration that some of us have more than others. Believe me, sharing with others who have less than you will bring you and yours joy, great happiness and blessings. Happy Thanksgiving, and please be safe.


Responsible journalism is hard work!
It is also expensive!

If you enjoy reading The Town Line and the good news we bring you each week, would you consider a donation to help us continue the work we’re doing?

The Town Line is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private foundation, and all donations are tax deductible under the Internal Revenue Service code.

To help, please visit our online donation page or mail a check payable to The Town Line, PO Box 89, South China, ME 04358. Your contribution is appreciated!

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *