The True Meaning of Thanksgiving

Most of us know the history of the first Thanksgiving. It was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the “New World” in October 1621 to thank God for guiding them to the New World.  This feast lasted three days, providing food for 13 pilgrims and 90 Native Americans. We don’t really know if turkey was actually served.  It’s believed that the feast consisted of fish, wild fowl (duck, geese, venison… possibly turkey), berries, fruit, corn, squash, pumpkin, barley and wheat.  Isn’t it remarkable that the menu in 1621 is similar to what one serves today so that we can accommodate the Ketogenic Diet, Paleo Diet, Mediterranean Diet, Pescatarians, Vegetarians, Vegans and No Diet (which is what most of us practice on Thanksgiving)?

Thanksgiving usually generates two trains of thought: Thanksgiving Day Dinner & Black Friday. 

Though most of us know Black Friday as a BIG shopping day, the first recorded use of the term “Black Friday” was applied not to holiday shopping but to financial crisis: specifically, the crash of the U.S. gold market on September 24, 1869.  Boy, that’s not very pleasant!

As we’re planning our menus and finding all those Black Friday sales, perhaps we sometimes forget about the true meaning of the holiday. It’s Thanksgiving –we are supposed to “give thanks”.

I know we all share the universal “thankful” list — family, friends, and good health.  Of course, they are all very important in our lives.  But on this Thanksgiving, I really hope we all take the time to think deeply about ALL the good things in our life.  What makes us smile? What makes us laugh? What fills our hearts with love?  What gives us a sense of peace and tranquility?  What simple things in life do we appreciate?  Do we take the time to enjoy a morning sunrise or an evening sunset?

Do we feel blessed –even in our darkest moment when we have lost someone we truly love?  Why? Because when we shed those tears, we should embrace how fortunate we have been to have had that person in our life.

This list could go on and on. 

On this Thanksgiving,  before the parades begin, and the turkey is put in the oven, let’s all take just 5 minutes and start our day with simple prayers of thanks.  Then let the festivities begin and enjoy each and every moment with friends, family, laugher and a touch of over- indulgence. 

Now the most important part of the day.  Let’s take 5 minutes to call 5 people and share with them how important they are in your life even if they may not know it.   Who is that person that you can count on?  Who has inspired you?  Who has quietly been there in your time of need?  Who gives to others without ever expecting anything in return?  Choose wisely, reach out and say:

“Happy Thanksgiving”—I am so grateful to have you in my life.

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