I read a quote today that said, “It’s not happy people who are thankful, its thankful people who are happy.” I was really touched by this, because I feel it is so true. Yesterday was my 42nd birthday and I have to say I felt so blessed and loved. This blessing did not come from an abundance of gifts or a huge party; it was simply from so many of my family members and friends taking time out of their day to simply wish me a happy birthday.
I love that I was born in November, the month of Thanksgiving, the day we Americans take to say thanks. It saddens me though, because I have always felt like poor Thanksgiving gets gypped – Halloween (a holiday I have never been fond of) happens and then boom we start thinking Christmas. Even before Halloween the Christmas decorations hit the stores and then November 1 the music, toy specials, and commercials all begin and other than an increase in turkey sales Thanksgiving pretty much gets skipped. Just like everyone else the Christmas magic draws me in, I love the music, decorations and sappy movies just as much as the next guy, but I still feel sorry for poor Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving at Plymouth
In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth.
Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years and tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans.
In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days. **
Being a direct descendant of Gov. William Bradford, Thanksgiving has always had a special place in my heart; I have always felt like my family started the holiday so I should give it extra TLC. As much as I am tempted, I hold Christmas off until after Thanksgiving, and try to remember how I am blessed and why I am thankful. After all, Thanksgiving began because a group of people were so happy to be alive and have corn – my blessings are so much greater than that. Something new I am doing this year, and a lot of my friends are doing as well, is for each day in November leading up to Thanksgiving, I am writing on Facebook what I am thankful for that day.
I am also taking this a step farther:
My friend Cheryl gave me this journal last year and its so pretty I didn’t want to put just anything in it, so I decided that starting on my birthday (yesterday) I would write each day throughout the year what I am thankful for, then on those days that I forget, I can look back and with thanksgiving, praise the Lord for all my blessings.
What are you thankful for? – How about starting your own journal of thanks and celebrate Thanksgiving throughout the whole year.
This November I have an extra special reason to be thankful – my hubby suffered a heart attack about a week ago (my reason for having not blogged). He survived it and is now doing well – so I am extra, extra thankful to God this year for letting me keep the hubby. Thank you to all of you who have prayed for him and my family, I am also very thankful for you.
**Excerpt from History.com