Thanksgiving in the US (and, I believe, Canada) is the largest of what are considered secular holidays. While many people attend church on Thanksgiving, it is considered non-denominational, of course. The first observance here is believed to be in 1619. Abraham Lincoln formalized the date as the final Thursday in November in the midst of the Civil War, thanks to indefatigable petitioning by Sarah Josepha Hale for 40 years. FDR moved it to the fourth Thursday (instead of the final Thursday) of the month, and here we are. (The holiday actually had its roots in English religious traditions during the Reformation, by the way.)
Here we are looking at turkeys with brine, or flash fried in those pots that seem to blow up with startling frequency, gorging ourselves with stuffing, potatoes, gravy, bread, and all sorts of things. People are usually filled by the time the turkey is served. (A brief digression: Turkeys have to think they’re living a great life, fed and sheltered from predators, until a very unexpected day rolls around with no forewarning. We need to think farther ahead than poultry.)
My prayer for thanks this year is for all those people who put themselves in harm’s way for the rest of us, fighting fires, fighting crime, fighting illness and accident. I’m thankful for these selfless people who aren’t in it for the money and whose service couldn’t really be adequately rewarded monetarily in any case.
Just knowing they’re there is reason enough to give thanks. In this otherwise captious society, this is not the only time we should do so, but it’s a good time to start.
He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. —Epictetus