This is the time of year that we set aside the special day to give thanks.  Thanksgiving has easily become one of the most beloved holidays.  In addition to delicious food, football, parades, and nonstop eating, the day is also recognized as the kick- off for Black Friday.  There is something for everyone!

The holiday falls on the fourth Thursday of November with many taking off Friday as well, providing a long enjoyable weekend.  It is a cheery time for many families and friends to be together.  

Thanksgiving holiday dates back to November 1621, when the Pilgrims gathered with the Wampanoag Indians and feasted at Plymouth.  This was a time of giving thanks for their successful crops.  Historians tell us the first celebration lasted for at least 3 days and more than 100 people were in attendance.  

President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to officially fall on the last Thursday of November.  In early October of 1863, President Lincoln expressed gratitude for a pivotal Union Army victory at Gettysburg in the midst of the Civil War and therefore would officially celebrate in November.  This was an obvious time of unrest in our Country.

Lincoln said, “I 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”.

Here we are, 157 years later coming through an unprecedented time in history with ample confusion and turmoil, yet, God still sits on the throne and we have much to be grateful for and many blessings to count. 

Begin November 26 this year to kick off a daily expression of thanksgiving Instead of once a year – let’s begin each day with an “attitude of gratitude”.  Research shows that grateful people tend to be healthy and happy with lower stress levels and less depression.  They sleep better and are able to cope with adversity better.  

Let’s take Lincoln’s advice and use it daily, “to be thankful to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens!” 

Rhonda Smart 

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