I was enthusiastic about Thanksgiving. I looked forward to my daughters coming home from college, enjoying quality family time with everybody, and cooking some of my kids’ favorite dishes. Even though I am not the best cook, they make me feel like I am and show appreciation for my efforts.
Prepping for Thanksgiving dinner was somewhat stressful because I deliberately waited to the last minute to go food shopping. I observed the long lines at the store days before the holiday and loathed the idea of standing in line with the disgruntled people already there. It was as if I, magically, thought the lines would diminish as we approached Thanksgiving. Delaying my shopping resulted in me spending over 4 ½ hours at three different stores.
The creation of Thanksgiving is traced back to a harvest festival celebrated by the pilgrims in 1621 at the Plymouth Plantation after a successful growing season.
President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”  Thus, an abundance of food, company, and the acknowledgement of blessings are historical traditions for Thanksgiving.
While I enjoyed the celebration with my family, I thought about all of the families who had lost love ones over the last year. How hurtful it must be to celebrate the first Thanksgiving without them. I also remembered some of the residents at the senior living center where my ex mother-in-law resided. Some had no visitors and some had only infrequent visitors. I often wondered why they were alone and could not think of any scenarios in my head that would lead to elderly abandonment, particularly for someone with children. I gave thanks for the unconditional love I have for my children and their love for me.
During this Thanksgiving weekend, I took a moment to remember the true meaning of Thanksgiving; giving thanks and praise to the Almighty for his many blessings. When the Proclamation for Thanksgiving was issued by President Lincoln on October 3,1863, it was during the American Civil War one of the bloodiest wars in U.S. history. The northern and southern states were in disagreement with slavery being one of the root causes. The country was divided.
Our country is divided on a number of issues again and American families are caught in the middle with their livelihoods at risk. As we give thanks for our blessings, remember the less fortunate.
Sadly the words from President Lincoln’s proclamation in 1863 are as poignant today as they were during the American Civil War. An excerpt follows:
“And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.”