The first celebration of Thanksgiving occurred in Plymouth, Massachusetts in the year 1621. The English settlers and the Wampanoag Native Americans were the celebrants at the first harvest. They were celebrating the gift of the harvest and fellowship between communities. The English settlers were fleeing religious persecution in England while the Wampanoag were accepting their new neighbors.
The honor and intent of this meeting was pure and simple. To celebrate the gifts of food and friendship. Both of which are necessary for a healthy existence.
This Thanksgiving spend time at the dinner table celebrating the essence of the holiday as it was intended by Abraham Lincoln. His speech on October 3, 1863 is beautiful.
"The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God."
I truly believe that we have lost some of the understanding of the harvest. There is no food scarcity. Famine or the hardship of hunger is lost to us. We only know that food is always present.
As a child, I used to scoff under my breath at my parents when they would encourage fasting for religious contemplation. I never fully understood the purpose. As I aged, that changed as the contemplative side of the hunger became apparent.
Fast forward to last fall. The science of fasting proved its health benefits pushing me all in. Over the last 15 months, I have learned to be thankful for every meal, every hunger pain and every day.
I am now grateful for fruitful fields and the healthful skies while embracing the local farmer who toils in the dirt for my wife and my children. We teach our children to love the animal that died for our nourishment, a Native American belief. They had it right.
Make this Thanksgiving a celebration of humanity, nourishment and fellowship as it was intended. Invite over a random guest that has less than you do. Make their day brighter with your love.
This Thanksgiving, find a local farmer, hug them and thank them for their work. Without them we have nothing!