Is it just me, or does it seem as though we go from Halloween directly to Christmas, with Thanksgiving barely registering a blip on our radars? I don’t want to get preachy here, but I feel it coming on…
Everyone complains that Christmas is too commercial and yet barely observes the one holiday that is the perfect precursor to Christmas. Perhaps if we stopped shopping long enough to take time to gather with family and reflect on all we have to be thankful for the Christmas holiday may be a little less commercial. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about stimulating the economy and I love the recent “shop local” sentiment out there. But, maybe if we focused on the meaning of the quiet holiday it would put us in a better frame of mind when faced with the frenzy of shopping, sales, and the constant barrage of advertising telling us what we must have this Christmas.
When the first Europeans arrived in the New World, the country was not in an economic down-turn, recession or even a depression. It was in a constant state of “at the mercy of nature.” Other than the things they arrived with, (which wasn’t much) they had to hunt, fish or grow food for their survival. They chopped and cleared and labored for their homes. And hunted and trapped for clothing. Yet, as hard as life was, these early Americans set time aside to give thanks for what they had. It wasn’t a quick meal and off to the couch while the wife went pre-Black Friday shopping. The first Thanksgiving lasted 3 days with a feast of fish, fowl, venison, fruit and more. I imagine the gathering was much like those in my not too-distant past. Present at the festivities were 13 Pilgrims and approximately 90 Native Americans. Yep, that sounds about right. Close family, extended family, non-family and those we think may have just wandered in.
Over the years our gatherings have gotten smaller, but I’m making it my goal to make this Thanksgiving more of a quake than a blip on my radar.