It’s that time of year again when many of us will gather with family and friends around a dining room table and eat ourselves silly – feasting on turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and too many other numerous side dishes to name!  But how many of us know WHY we do this?  What is the origin behind this American tradition?

Most of us know the story of the Pilgrims and Native Americans celebrating the harvest in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621.  Yet there are claims that the REAL first Thanksgiving was held in 1607 in the Commonwealth of Virginia, where setting aside time to celebrate the harvest and give thanks for one’s blessings was common.  This tradition continued at various times throughout the years until 1789, when George Washington proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving Day.

Over time, Thanksgiving has become a very commercial Holiday, like so many others that we have.  Since 1924, Thanksgiving is now known for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade held in New York City, among many others held throughout the country.  And since the 1950’s, there is also the traditional Detroit Lions Football Game watched by millions on television. Then we can’t forget the Thanksgiving Day shopping specials, which has created conflict between those who feel that all stores should be closed so that everyone can have this day off from work to be with family, and those who love the idea of a bargain, even if it means going out on Thanksgiving Day! 

My point in all of this is:  Do YOU remember what the true meaning of Thanksgiving is when you celebrate?  Do you take time to be thankful for your blessings?  We can still enjoy the parades, the football games, the shopping, our time with family and friends and the food – certainly the food!  But, I hope you will also take some time to remember to be THANKFUL for all that you have.  And, if you’re so inclined and able, I hope you will also consider sharing your bounty with someone less fortunate.  Whether it means inviting someone to your home for dinner that day who would otherwise be home alone, or volunteering a few hours in a shelter to serve dinner to others who are less fortunate, please consider how you can be a blessing to someone else.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

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