Article first published as Thanksgiving An American Gem to Remind Us What’s Important on Technorati.
The roots of the Thanksgiving holiday are religious. Despite the current cultural sparring over the role of religion in public life, then President Abraham Lincoln was clear about why he proclaimed the day a national holiday.
In his official announcement commemorating the establishment of the official holiday on October 3, 1863, Lincoln was direct:
â€œI 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.â€
Despite its religious roots, for most of us Thanksgiving isnâ€™t a religious holiday first most of us. For those of us who do have a strong faith, we use it as another way to show our appreciation to God. For those that donâ€™t, they celebrate it for its true Americanism and the freedom it represents.
The reason I love Thanksgiving is because it is truly American. Besides the great food, football and leisure, it celebrates family and togetherness. Itâ€™s primarily a holiday celebrated at home amongst people you love. Itâ€™s time where we enjoy a bountiful harvest before we get set for the harshness, cold and darkness of winter. Itâ€™s a time of year when we celebrate our Americanism and just how lucky we all were to be born â€“ or had the fortune to emigrate to â€“ the United States.
Yes there are European and Native American traditions represented even in our modern celebration of Thanksgiving. But as is with most American traditions, they are a melting pot of ancient and modern ways to bring people together to be thankful for everything in our lives.
While so much time is spent on talking about Christmas, mostly for its consumer and secular meaning, Thanksgiving remains a little more pure in my mind. Itâ€™s a bit of a rushed holiday â€“ lying in between the growing party holiday of Halloween and the onslaught of retail season â€“ but its perhaps the most important for us right now.
The economy, job losses, home foreclosures, and other social issues have Americans on edge. Now more than ever we need the message that Thanksgiving delivers. We need to put aside our differences and sit at the table and be thankful â€“ even in tough times. Perhaps our current malaise is even more reason for us to celebrate its meaning.
Let us in 2011 not look back about the bad times weâ€™ve seen or the problems we have yet to solve. Let us look forward and be thankful we have time to bring about change. We have time and have been given the opportunity to continue to join together to make our country better.
In the immortal words of W.J Cameron: â€œThanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.â€
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Enjoy the time with your family, friends and loved ones. Be renewed and let’s give thanks and work together to make things as great as they can be.