Thanksgiving is a time when we reflect on the things that are special in our lives, our family, our friends, our loved ones.
It provides the comfort of knowing that we are never alone.
Ever since I can remember, Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays, a time when all the relatives would gather for dinner, sharing with one another the love they held in their hearts.
We were able to count our blessings and remember those less fortunate, such as the homeless, the elderly, and those caught up in circumstances for which they have no control: war, abuse, deprivation, loss of loved ones, health problems, and even the loneliness that comes with growing old.
And who knows? The time might come when the American Civil Liberties Union will bring about the cancellation of the Thanksgiving holiday because it relates to a religious experience about giving thanks. Our children might live to see the obliteration of all religious-connected holidays in America altogether.
That will be a sad time.
Our founding fathers never intended the Constitution to become the perverse instrument of the radical few, those who would destroy the spiritual essence of our nation, so that they could gain power through political correctness and legal maneuvering.
On the contrary, it is because of our spiritual connection to a supreme being that we stand united as a free nation—under God, with liberty and justice for all.
And what is more, it seems that every year we are treated to protests attempting to disprove the “myth of Thanksgiving.” In these exhortations, we are told that:
Some of these accusations are not a serious concern. After all, who cares if the Pilgrims served cranberries, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, and gravy?
But what seems to lie behind some of these objections is a desire to devalue the religious experience of our present Thanksgiving holiday.
This is unfortunate, since Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays on the American calendar that is not swept away with commercialism or mixed with pagan elements.
So, what if the things we learned in our own childhood about the Pilgrims and Squanto and the First Thanksgiving are a mixture of both history and myth?
Public education has always been a major tool in the promotion of social unity—that is until the extreme Leftist radicals showed up with their own anti-American agenda.
The theme of Thanksgiving, however, has truth and integrity far above and beyond what we and our forefathers have made of it.
Thanksgiving is a bigger concept than just the story of the founding of Plymouth Colony.
There has always been a Thanksgiving story of some kind or other for as long as there have been humans.
At some time during the New Stone Age (beginning about 10,000 years ago) Thanksgiving became associated with giving thanks to God for the harvests of the land.
Thanksgiving has always been a time of people to come together. Thanks, have also been offered for the gift of fellowship between peoples of all cultures.
Every final Thursday in November we now partake in one of the oldest and most universal of human celebrations—Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving reminds us that Americans are still a people of great faith.
The Pilgrims’ story teaches courage, persistence, love of liberty and gratitude to God. The Wampanoag demonstrated generosity, neighborliness, and friendship in their offers of assistance to the newcomers. We and subsequent generations of Americans can continue to learn from the First Thanksgiving and be inspired by it.
Toward that goal, let us propose the revival of a Thanksgiving custom that will help us remember. It bears a curious title, “Five Kernels of Corn.” This refers to a 19th-century practice of placing five kernels of dried corn on the Thanksgiving table in remembrance of the First Thanksgiving.
The five kernels of corn on the Thanksgiving table carry several levels of significance.
The tradition got its start in 1820 on Forefathers’ Day, a now mostly forgotten holiday marking the arrival of the Mayflower in Plymouth on Dec. 22, 1620.
The occasion was a large dinner following Daniel Webster’s celebrated oration honoring the Pilgrims on the bicentennial of their arrival in Plymouth.
In his speech, Webster reminded his listeners that we are “not mere insulated beings, without relation to the past or the future.”We must leave for future generations “some proof that we hold the blessings transmitted from our fathers in just estimation.”
Among the blessings he listed was a desire to promote everything that may “improve the hearts of men,” a category that surely includes Thanksgiving.
Top o’ the morning!