The times are bad, safe to say. But however bad they are, we know we should give thanks.
How did Thanksgiving begin? Hard to say. One popular account traces it to New England in 1621 when the pilgrims recently migrated from England sat down with the native peoples for a meal at this time of year. Was it a meal after a good harvest or a bad harvest? Accounts differ.
The account of a bad harvest says that the Indians saw the poor Puritans starving and got them a meal of wild turkey and corn and other foodstuffs the immigrants knew nothing about.
There are other theories for the feast. One theory traces Thanksgiving to Protestant objections to Catholic celebrations of saints’ feasts and celebrations like Christmas and Easter. Too many, they said. The Puritans cut out those celebrations and kept only two kinds of religious observance, Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving.
It’s safe to say Thanksgiving is a very popular day for celebrating with family and friends. It’s also true that if you went to the churches around our country today, you would find better attendance than usual.
On Thanksgiving I think of what Meister Eckhardt said:
“If the only prayer that you said in your entire life is Thank You, that would suffice.”
Your gifts are countless, O God,
and we thank you for them all.
May our hearts like yours reach out,
to those who have less than we do.
and give them your blessing.
Bless the gifts of food and drink we share at this table.
Bless those who prepared them for us,
Bless those around this table,
Bless creations itself, your great table of gifts.
We give you thanks for all. Amen