Happy Thanksgiving!

Harper's Weekly Vol II, 27 Nov 1858, p. 760

Thanksgiving Day–Arrival at the Old Home Harper’s Weekly Vol II, 27 Nov 1858, p. 760


I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

– from Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation of Thanksgiving, October 3, 1863

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated in the U.S.A. and Canada.  The U.S.A. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.  It originates in the practice of making proclamations that set aside a day to give thanks to God for His provision.  thanksgiving Day as we celebrate it is actually an expression of being thankful to God for the blessings of the harvest.  Many equate the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims and Indians sitting down together to share a meal while giving thanks for an especially bountiful harvest in 1621 in Plymouth (Massachusetss).  There are other claims for the first thanksgiving in America including one as early as 1565 in St. Augustine, Florida.

Thanksgiving as we know it today has more in common with the New England tradition of declaring days of Thanksgiving acknowledging God’s provision.  Declaring a day of Thanksgiving in November in recognition of the provision of the harvest emerged as a regular occurrence in the 1660s. As New Englanders spread out into the growing country they brought along with them this tradition. The first official declaration of a day of Thanksgiving in November was in 1777 and others were declared from time-to-time until 1815. At that time it fell out of favor and reverted back to a regional observance to emerge once again in the 1850s.  

In 1863 there were two days of national Thanksgiving declared by President Abraham Lincoln. The first on August 6 to celebrate the victory at Gettysburg and the other for the last Thursday in November in thanksgiving for the harvest. A proclamation had to be made each year to declare Thanksgiving’s observance until it was made a national holiday in 1941. In 1931 there were two Thanksgivings. Believing that moving the annual Thanksgiving observance one week earlier would give retailers more shopping days before Christmas, President Roosevelt issued a proclamation that Thanksgiving would be on the fourth Thursday instead of the last. It was actually this that caused Congress to finally set the national holiday.

Families gather together in thanksgiving with a feast commonly consisting of turkey as the main dish surrounded by stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, vegetables, etc. Pumpkin pie is a common dessert. It is common for families to have their own special dish that is served.  It is a true time of tradition and remembering the past.  

In the end Thanksgiving is indeed based on celebrating the harvest and as a time to gather the family together from near and far.  It was promoted especially by Sarah Josepha Hale, the long-time editor of  Godey’s Ladies Book (1837-1877), as a time to for the entire nation to express gratitude for its many blessings.   

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~An Old Irish blessing


Cultivating the Field of Gratitude Brings Blessings

Gratitude has a way of changing your perspective and leaves you open to the blessings that are within each day.  It is through thanksgiving that we open the doors to more blessings in our lives.  When we are grateful our perspective changes in that what we have becomes enough.  Instead of yearning for more we can appreciate what we have.  It’s the old “the grass is greener on the other side” syndrome that creates unhappiness in our lives and essentially blocks blessings from flowing.  Certainly if we watered the grass of our own field–it too would be greener!

Gratitude brings blessings

Gratitude brings blessings.

Take time to be grateful today for all the blessings in your life as well as all the lessons in your life.  Water the grass of your fields and you will find that you have more than enough.  Do you have a barren field in your life?  What do you need to do in order for that field to start producing a yield?  Is the soil ready for planting or do you have to ready the soil?  Did you plant seeds and they didn’t grow?  What we tend to will grow–be it happiness or bitterness–it will grow.  Did you tend it properly or was it just a failed harvest?  Sometimes harvests do fail despite all that we do.  It is then that we must reflect upon the lessons learned in order to replant the field.

Today cultivate the fields of your life with gratitude and watch how your fields change in reflection.  Watch how blessings grow in fields nurtured with thankfulness.  It’s a basic law.  You reap what you sow and the harvest is always more than the planting.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

It turns what we have into enough.

It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today,

and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

~ Melody Beattie

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.  ~ An Old Irish blessing.

Gratitude is a Daily Thing

Mini Gratitude Book Free Printable from website

Mini Gratitude Book Free Printable from website

Gratitude has a way of changing your perspective and leaves you open to receiving the blessings that are within each day.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

~ William Arthur Ward