Thanksgiving is fast approaching, which means lots of food, family from far away, and possibly some family drama. Unfortunately, we often lose sight of the original purpose of Thanksgiving, even though the name says it all. Thanksgiving should be approached as a time when we give thanks for all of the positives in our lives. First, a little history. The Pilgrims celebrated their Thanksgiving in 1621 after receiving help from the local Wampanoag tribe and their Patuxet interpreter, Squanto. It later became a national holiday in the United States when Franklin Roosevelt signed Thanksgiving into federal law. Since that time, we have celebrated this occasion in late November. While it’s origins in our nation are closely tied with Christian tradition, it should be noted that many cultures around the world have similar celebrations usually after the harvest season.
With that said, it is my goal to create a prayer to be used by all creeds and viewpoints in all occasions:
We give thanks to our family and we are glad they could be here with us today.
We are thankful for our health, and hope for continued good health throughout the following year.
We give thanks to our friends for being there when we need them, and for being a part of our family today.
We are thankful for our Republic, and hope it remains forever free and secure.
We give thanks for the fact that we have each other and we acknowledge that we are all in this together and that together we are stronger.
Now that economic times are getting harder, we need to work together and be a larger family more than ever. I remember when I was in the military, we always had the “adopt an airman” program, where senior staff would invite an airman over to their home if they couldn’t afford to get back home with their family, or otherwise had no one else with which to spend Thanksgiving.
My last three Thanksgivings were spent being “adopted” by various friends, the first year with some Air Force friends of mine, the second with a friend from my university, and the last with my roommate’s family. Now that I’m back in Colorado and close to my family, I imagine I’ll spend this year with them. However, I am thankful to everyone who took me in and invited me to be a part of their family when I had no one else to turn to at the time.
I urge everyone reading this to consider doing the same. If you have a coworker, classmate, friend, or associate that you know has no one to turn to for Thanksgiving, invite them over to spend it with your family. After all, don’t you always have a ton of food left over anyway? What’s one more mouth to feed!