Last week we unpacked that life is a story, and we looked at some of those special people in our lives who embody, what it means to actually – live life well. At Conizo, we’d love to be a part of your story – your current season of life and those seasons to come!
And what better time to look at life’s seasons than where we find ourselves today? The days are shorter, nights cooler, the trees turning lovely shades of fall, and the leaves are piled high in the neighbor’s yards. One thing is for sure, Fall is here, and with Fall comes Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving – the family, the food, and the fun!
But before we dive into all the food, family and fun of Thanksgiving, let’s take a little closer look into what makes Thanksgiving so special.
“The first Thanksgiving recorded was held on November 26, 1621 in Plymouth, MA as the Plymouth colonists shared an autumn feast with the Wampanoag Native Americans. This first Thanksgiving celebrated the colonists first successful harvest and lasted three days complete with hunting, fishing and of course food. Over the next 200 years, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by colonies and states. But it wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day for the final Thursday in November. It was celebrated that way until 1939, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up one week to spur retail sales in the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan was met with much opposition, so in 1941, he signed a new bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.” ¹
In many American households, Thanksgiving now centers much on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends. Turkey, now taking its place at the center of the table, may or may not have been offered in that first Thanksgiving in 1621. The National Turkey Federation calls the Turkey – America’s Bird. And with nearly 90% of Americans eating the bird – whether roasted, baked or deep fried – this Thanksgiving tradition would seem here to stay.²
But let’s not stop with the Turkey; how about the stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce and don’t forget the pumpkin pie. Family food favorites are very much a part of the Thanksgiving tradition. I remember one boyhood Thanksgiving in particular. My Mother made those incredible celery sticks, with the most amazing cream-cheese-filling. It was on one of her many trips out of the kitchen, that she discovered the now empty celery sticks – with me under the dining room table – doing all I could to help the problem along. Well...I digress.
Parades have also become a significant part of Thanksgiving Day festivities. Our family, much like families across the United States, find themselves on Thanksgiving Day in front of the television. A staple since 1924, New York City’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the largest and most famous, attracting some 2 million plus spectators along its 2.5-mile route. Featuring marching bands, performers, elaborate floats, celebrities and giant balloons shaped like our favorite cartoon characters – it’s a Thanksgiving tradition.
Gathering as a family may be a little harder this year, as we find ourselves in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. With travel bans, quarantine considerations, and the basic fear-of-the-unknown, the possibility of a virtual Thanksgiving 2020 seems more real every day. A couple of ideas that have really helped our family though these pandemic-times have been ZOOM³ and FaceTime.⁴
Zoom is a web-based platform that allows multi-users to come together for meetings. You can find ZOOM at www.zoom.com and it’s free for the first 40 minutes without having to pay or join. We have found it a great way to get together as a family and to keep the generations connected. Apple provides FaceTime which is their video and voice platform – another great way to stay connected. Think of it as a phone that uses your Wi-Fi or cellular data connection instead of traditional phone lines. You can use it from any iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or MacBook and you can find more info at www.apple.com.
Last but not least, Thanksgiving is at-its-heart, about giving thanks. Although the American concept of Thanksgiving developed much from the first colonies in New England, its roots take us across the Atlantic with those colonists who brought faith traditions & providential holidays with them. As an annual celebration of the harvest and its bounty, Thanksgiving finds its roots spanning cultures, continents and millennia.
Taking a page from my faith tradition, I’d like to close this week with a Thanksgiving Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer (2007 Version).⁵
Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love. We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side. We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us. We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone. Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying, through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom. Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know Christ and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.
So, this year as you gather around the table or virtually around a screen – we at Conizo join you with hearts full of gratitude. Thankful for blessings. Grateful for opportunity. And hopeful with the belief that the wisdom of one generation intersects with the hope of another. Thanks for stopping by the intersection of wisdom and hope and from all of us at Conizo – Happy Thanksgiving.
Live Life Well
1. History, www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/history-of-thanksgiving, November 17, 2020
2. National Turkey federation, www.eatturkey.org
3. ZOOM, www.zoom.com
4. Apple, www.apple.com
5. A General Thanksgiving, Book of Common Prayer, (2007 Version)