Thanksgiving is an old holiday celebrated not only in the United States but in Canada. Many other countries also have some form of harvest festival. The first celebration in the United States of giving thanks for a good harvest is often traced back to Plymouth in 1621. Later, various states celebrated the harvest on different dates. It was not until 1863 that President Lincoln issued a proclamation fixing the date in the U.S. so that all states would celebrate the holiday on the same date.
I find this appropriate.
In 1863, our country was in the middle of a bloody war that often pitted brother against brother. We were, indeed, a house divided. One of the reasons for issuing the proclamation was to provide some sense of unity between North and South. However, the South refused to recognize the date established for another decade or so. Today, though, Americans observe Thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday of November.
Today, our country is once again divided, this time along political lines rather than geographical boundaries. Still, the division is deep, so much so that numerous recent news stories have dealt on families who will be bypassing spending time together this year because of these divisions. Now is the time when we could all use a little more tolerance, a lot more understanding, and a great deal of forgiveness.
Rather than dwell on those things that divide us, I choose to be thankful for all the blessings we have in this country. I am thankful to live in this country. Despite the many challenges we face, this is still the best place on earth to live.
Here's wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and the start to a wonderful holiday season.