Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Sam Rohrer: Be Thankful!
The first Thanksgiving occurred in October of 1621 when Governor Bradford declared a day of public thanksgiving. Following President Washington's example, many presidents also issued some formal proclamation (Click here to read them). In 1863, President Lincoln took the tradition of a proclamation one step further and declared Thanksgiving Day a nationwide official day of recognition. As Americans, we’ve celebrated the day ever since.
For many, this may be just another vacation day for food, family, friends, and football. Certainly these things are fine. However, this year, it would be wonderful if we would re-focus our attention on actually "giving thanks" and ponder the purpose for the day. There are great lessons to be learned by looking back into history and considering why our ancestors were thankful.
For the Pilgrims, the focus of their thanks was on survival. They were thankful because they had harvested sufficient food to supply them through the coming winter (because the year before many died from lack of food). But they also expressed their gratitude to their friends Squanto and the Wampanoag Indians who because of their care and helpfulness taught the Pilgrims how to live in this New World. But most importantly, the object of their thanks was God who had "honored their obedience beyond their dreams." We should be thankful for all the material blessings we have. But, we should also look about and be grateful for all the people around us that in this last year helped us, encouraged us, and shared with us. But, the ultimate thanks should go to God who provides the ability to gain material things and provides the friends who make life rich and full.
So, in November of 2009 when so many things are of such concern, let's follow the example of the first Thanksgiving celebration and participate in the spirit of the first official day of Thanksgiving and Praise. Gratitude is such an important quality for any person to possess. When you gather around your table for Thanksgiving in just another day, go around the table and ask each person to share something for which they are thankful. Look around and then look up. If you have time, read through some of the early Proclamations. It will really make you thankful. That's what I intend to do with my entire family as we meet.
Republican Candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania