Day of Thanks

In the US, we celebrate Thanksgiving.

Granted, everyone who reads this blog most likely knows that. I’d be terribly surprised if you didn’t. We get together with turkey and ham, dressing and cranberry sauce, usually some mashed potatoes and gravy, and an amalgamation of other sides all set up for imbibing. And then, when you’re adequately overdosed on tryptophan, you can crash while the football games play in the background. It’s tradition.

But the tradition spans generations, other countries and religious beliefs. Wikipedia summarizes it as the following (helpful Wiki links included):

Prayers of thanks and special thanksgiving ceremonies are common among almost all religions after harvests and at other times.[1] The Thanksgiving holiday’s history in North America is rooted in English traditions dating from the Protestant Reformation. It also has aspects of a harvest festival, even though the harvest in New England occurs well before the late-November date on which the modern Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated.[1][2]

In the English tradition, days of thanksgiving and special thanksgiving religious services became important during the English Reformation in the reign of Henry VIII and in reaction to the large number of religious holidays on the Catholic calendar. Before 1536 there were 95 Church holidays, plus 52 Sundays, when people were required to attend church and forego work and sometimes pay for expensive celebrations. The 1536 reforms reduced the number of Church holidays to 27, but some Puritans wished to completely eliminate all Church holidays, including Christmas and Easter. The holidays were to be replaced by specially called Days of Fasting or Days of Thanksgiving, in response to events that the Puritans viewed as acts of special providence. Unexpected disasters or threats of judgement from on high called for Days of Fasting. Special blessings, viewed as coming from God, called for Days of Thanksgiving. For example, Days of Fasting were called on account of drought in 1611, floods in 1613, and plagues in 1604 and 1622. Days of Thanksgiving were called following the victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588 and following the deliverance of Queen Anne in 1705.[3] An unusual annual Day of Thanksgiving began in 1606 following the failure of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and developed into Guy Fawkes Day on November 5.[3]

Most of us use the day now, exactly how I mentioned it before. We over-indulge, laugh, drink, be merry, and pass out for a lengthy nap before waking up some time too late in the evening to be of any use to anyone.

But what should we really do? Well, the namesake of the holiday is a simple request: giving thanks. When was the last time you really sat back and really gave thought to all the things you have to be thankful for?

I know I’m guilty of thinking of all the things that I have to complain about. Short on money, not enough games to play, not enough food in the house, not enough clothes to wear, and on and on and on. I exaggerated a couple of those, because they’re common complaints, but still, they’re pretty generic and accurate for most people. We really don’t take the time to be thankful for exactly what we have.

I hope you take the day to sit back and be thankful, for each and every thing you can. May your day be great, full of family and friends, and your future bright and shining!


Happy Thanksgiving!

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