Take Time This Thanksgiving to Live in the Now
Did you know? American Thanksgiving doesn’t begin with the Pilgrims. It begins with the Reformation.
When the Protestant Reformation made it to England, Henry VIII decided to institute “Days of Thanksgiving” in the formation of the Church of England. He had been bothered that the calendar was dotted with 95 Roman Catholic Church holidays that ordered everyone away from work and into church, so he ended the practice and instituted 27 yearly days of thanksgiving and days of fasting.
The Puritans, who would become the Pilgrims, observed these days of thanksgiving and fasting. The shared meal celebrated in Plymouth Colony in 1621 after a particularly fruitful harvest inspired what would become our Thanksgiving Day.
After the Revolutionary War, George Washington tried to institute a day of Thanksgiving for the nation, but it was left up to each state, and its implementation was spotted. It was not until 1863, in the middle of the Civil War, that Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November a national day of Thanksgiving.
In 1941, in an effort to improve the economy, President Roosevelt fixed the date as the fourth Thursday of November in order to ensure more shopping days until Christmas.
Another big shocker.
I hope you see from my brief history of Thanksgiving that while it started out as a religious holiday, it has certainly become secular over the years. Nevertheless, it is a day all of us can celebrate in a way the expresses our thanks to God. But what is the best way for us to do that?
Thanksgiving has become a day for family. Gathering around a shared meal is at the core of what we as Americans are expected to do. But preparing for the meal can be extremely stressful, and having four days with family goes beyond the Benjamin Franklin’s adage: “guests, like fish, begin to stink after three days.”
I suggest that Thanksgiving be a time when we fully focus on what is right before us, a time to live into the NOW. Let the past be past, let the future be future. On Thanksgiving, may we find a way to just be in the moment and let love rule the day.
This does not just magically happen. It’s often difficult to calm down our minds and simply be. It takes effort and a commitment to keep our minds in the room.
Living in the moment is the most important lesson anyone can have. It is truly something to give thanks to God for if you can begin experiencing God’s presence this way. If you begin the process, it might make for a happy Thanksgiving.