Many of you recently celebrated the national holiday known as Thanksgiving. The concept of this United States holiday has been associated with the Plymouth village colonists called "Pilgrims."¹ Various sources attribute the “First Thanksgiving” as a feast celebrated in 1621 after the first harvest attended by Native Americans and Pilgrims. History credits Abraham Lincoln as the proclaimer of Thanksgiving Day as a national United States holiday to be observed in November.²
Activities often associated with this holiday include gathering of family and friends, prayer, eating, and relaxing. This year, Thanksgiving celebrations were different and unusual, taking on a “dream-like” atmosphere. This year’s holiday celebration was full of unexpected and unique approaches to old traditions.
Face masks, greater than normal space between people, virtual get-togethers with family and friends, less cooking and more online ordering of food, and outside dinner-serving claimed center stage.
Despite all the modifications, the essential ingredients of a traditional family dinner remain constant. Prayer and thankfulness become essential to the gatherings.
We may question the need for thankfulness given all the challenges swirling around us throughout this year. Our “normal” has almost become extinct and replaced by a “new normal.” Here are a few of the reasons for being thankful despite the negatives associated with the thankfulness:
COVID-19 burst on the scene uninvited.
So What! It provided an opportunity to find out what it feels like to prepare and survive “white water rafting.” We are still in training.
Most of the entertainment venues like sports were halted.
So What! Many of us took to the streets, sidewalks, and beaches to run, ride bikes, or walk. Our children and pets spent more quality time with us, and we discovered our legs and feet are remarkable assets to our bodies. We adjusted and became less stressed about winners and losers.
We have to wear face masks and keep a certain distance from others.
So What! We could cut down on our getting dressed to go-out time, and our personal spaces became wider. Besides, when is the last time you heard anyone cough and sneeze near you? According to a chief nutritionist, a sneeze can travel as far as 200 feet, and a cough releases airborne particles that can travel from 5 to 200 times the distance.³ How’s that for a shout out for facial masks!
We have to disinfect everything.
So What! We learned some new ways of doing things, like singing the “Happy Birthday” song while keeping our hands clean with soap and water. Hand washing became a new adventure for kids, which automatically reduced the “carrier” syndrome among children (and some adults) who rarely washed their hands. Hand sanitizers became our “trendy” accessory, We also learned that bleach could do more than remove stains.
We have to stand in line to buy groceries.
So What! If we had money to buy groceries, that is a blessing. We also met some of our community while waiting to go into the store. One of the best outcomes to be thankful for, the stores now clean the carts! I rarely remember this happening before COVID.
Apart from these, we continue to enjoy the privilege of celebrating Thanksgiving. Even more important is we have the freedom to give thanks and pray.
Giving thanks is an attitude. It should be within us to be thankful 365 days a year. Thanksgiving provides us the opportunity to express both our gratitude and our need for dependency upon God. We pray and give thanks for all of the gifts we have received. With joy, love, and in friendship, we can celebrate with others His everlasting goodness.
¹en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Thanksgiving_(United_States)