With the 24/7 news cycles and social media wonks vying for attention in a sea of screaming voices, it’s easy to get sucked into and figuratively drown in the tide of hatred and despair.
I’ve already skimmed a few articles about what a terrible holiday Thanksgiving Day is, and how it celebrates genocide and white supremacy. Add on top of that the ever present fear of the thing-that-shall-not-be-named should we deign to spend time with extended family, why should we celebrate this day?
Because it’s necessary, and I’m a big fan of rebelling against social norms that call evil good and good evil.
First we need to ask why we celebrate Thanksgiving, and why it was made into a holiday to begin with. In short, it’s to spend the day thanking God for all his blessings.
George Washington said it best in his proclamation on October 2, 1789 (copied from the US National Archives):
By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Full disclosure: our Thanksgiving won’t be spent with extended family and for two reasons: Some are still fearful of the thing-that-shall-be-not-be-named and refuse to get together with those who’ve not been vaccinated. The other is because my husband, son, and I are still getting over a nasty cold (not the thing-that-shall-not-be-named). It would be rude to get together with others whilst coughing up our lungs all over the place (figuratively speaking).
That doesn’t mean we can’t be thankful to God for our blessings, though. I could lay them all out here, but I think I will use George Washington’s words above. He said it all, and far more eloquently than I ever could.
Now it’s your turn. What blessings has God showered upon you?