Thanksgiving or Turkey Day?

I was sad years back to find that numerous students even in Christian high schools and colleges do not know the origins behind American Thanksgiving and join many others in simply calling it Turkey Day. The busiest air traffic day of the year, the fourth Thursday in November is a heartwarming time to join family around a table featuring turkey, but it is also so much more.

After surviving their first year in the Mayflower Colony, during the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims invited ninety Wampanoag Indians from a nearby village to express thanks and share their harvest with them. Despite extreme hardships and losses, our forefathers thanked God for freedom and a fresh start in a new land.

These days Googling Thanksgiving brings up a wide-range of articles including virtual turkeys with no calories and vegetarian recipes made up of gelatin or other substitutes.

Who doesn’t enjoy turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry and other salads, various pies and great-grandma’s specialty prune-spice or cheesecakes? Before we stuff ourselves and later relax with football or naps, begin the meal by singing the Doxology to thank God “from whom all blessings flow.” Look at each face around the table, and enjoy the conversations and reminisce along with the food, but pass on the best parts of this tradition. Resist the trend to take the Thanks out of Thanksgiving as well as the giving for that matter and preserve the true heritage.

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