Thanksgiving Prayers And Blessings

November 24, 2011 by staff 

Thanksgiving Prayers And Blessings, Although we tend to think of Thanksgiving as originating with the Pilgrims’ first feast, in 1621, the celebration did not become an official holiday until the Civil War. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared a national day of Thanksgiving, and four years later President Andrew Johnson proclaimed Thanksgiving would take place henceforth on the fourth Thursday of November.

So although we imagine the Pilgrims and Indians peacefully sharing venison and pumpkin pie when we think of Thanksgiving, the holiday also has its roots in the most fractured time in our national history – a time when brother took up arms against brother, when it became certain, as Jesus said and Lincoln quoted, “that a house divided against itself cannot stand.”

These days, life in America seems more Civil War polemic than Pilgrim feast. A nationwide protest has grown up around the concept of income inequality, “the 99 percent vs. the 1 percent.” Our TV screens and Facebook pages – the Town Halls of the 21st century – are full of people shouting at one another. Regardless of political persuasion, people feel threatened, and they are angry. And although we are still at war in Afghanistan against a stubborn and insidious foe, the scenes of violence playing out on television are just as likely to come from our cities as a foreign country. Indeed, you have to look closely each morning to see if the latest beating on the front page of The New York Times is from Cairo or California.

As we sit down with family this Thanksgiving, let us consider that if the Pilgrims could share their feast with the Indians (whose country they had just pretty much invaded) then certainly we can share with each other. If a nationwide Thanksgiving helped the nation heal from the ravages of the Civil War, then perhaps it can help us to avoid violent division.

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