Thanksgiving Then and Now

1621  53 immigrants (called pilgrims) and 90 indians celebrated the first Thanksgiving.

Days of thanks, celebration, and prayer to God were a regular practice among the pilgrims, but this was the first official celebration on American soil.

And this spirit of gratitude is throughout our history.

1774- 1789  “National days of prayer, humiliation, and thanksgiving” were regularly instituted by the continental congress.

1861   Abraham Lincoln declared the holiday of Thankgiving proclaiming the need to remember “the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”

Today: Stores this year are opening their major sales as early as 4:00 PM on Thankgiving Day. Shoppers will have to leave time with family, time to reflect, time to be THANKFUL to go after deals.

So Thanksgiving this year will have hoards of Americans racing after what they want rather than pausing in “prayer, humiliation, and thanksgiving”

I DON”T actually blame the businesses. As a small business owner, I know what it’s like to  come up with deals just to survive.

I blame US.

I blame we Americans who have changed from WORSHIPPERS to CONSUMERS.

From Thanks-givers to Stuff-getters.

When a store says they are opening on Thanksgiving day. WE, Americans should be outraged, but instead we move our dinner up – so we can race out the door to save $35 on a blue-ray player, $10 on an Elsa doll or $25 on a TV wall mount.

We willingly sacrifice the time we’ve set aside to THANK for WANT.

Ultimately, the success of the Thanksgiving sales show what we Americans serve.

We serve our true master – Stuff – and pledge our first fruits to get it.

This is what we’ve become.

How different the first immigrants were from us.

They sacrificed everything to be here – and willingly thanked God that he had provided the bare necessities – let alone deals on flat screen TVs and Barbie Dream houses.

A few days ago I caught a glimpse of what we must look like to a modern day immigrant.

I was talking to an immigrant friend from Germany.

Immigrating has never been easy, and today that hasn’t changed. She, her husband, and their children became citizens, have worked hard (At Walmart jobs), and are trying to put him through school for a brighter tomorrow.

And so here is her 7th Thanksgiving as an American. It is not a time of thankfulness and prayer. She and her husband will both be working through Thanksgiving, Black Friday and the whole weekend.

When she told me this,  I opened my mouth to say something about holiday shopping boosting the economy, but I stopped.

I looked at her tired face.

She had sacrificed everything to come to America because it boasted of freedom and prosperity – yet where would she be on Thanksgiving – the day we have set aside to celebrate the prosperity God has given us and THANK Him?

She would be watching us all grab for more.

For just a second this glimpse into a modern day immigrant gripped me.

For just a second the view of my own taken-for-granted life of privilege left me speechless.

“I’ll be praying for you.” I said weakly.

I will be praying for her, and I don’t plan to be part of the hoards shopping on Thanksgiving either.

I hope to spend my Thanksgiving doing what the first immigrants did – giving thanks.


One thought on “Thanksgiving Then and Now

  1. Leah

    Well put. It’s pretty gross how greedy the American people have become. It’s a daily struggle even with a 4 year old to fend off that mentality, it’s so engrained in our culture. I hope your friend gets a break soon and can work somewhere else where they respect family & thanks.


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