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Why Do We Celebrate Thanksgiving?

October 14, 2013

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year when we get together with family, eat great food, watch football and spend time together. But why do we actually do all of this? Is it just about the Pilgrims and Native Americans or the turkey and the mashed potatoes? Those definitely are parts of it, but there?s also something more: something that many of us may quickly forget in the hustle and bustle of the impending Christmas season, planning flights, planning vacation days from work, buying gifts and all of those tasks that we have to do.

Giving Thanks

When we think about the first Thanksgiving meal that the Pilgrims had with the Native Americans, we need to put ourselves in their shoes. The Pilgrims left England in September of 1620 and didn?t actually arrive at Plymouth until December?in the dead of winter. When they arrived, they didn?t have enough food and had trouble locating a suitable place to set up a colony. During that first winter nearly half of the people died from harsh conditions, sickness and lack of food. It was only because of the help of the Native Americans that they were able to survive. So that they had much to be grateful for: not only for their very lives, but for the gifts that the Native Americans brought to them in their time of need.

For most of us, we will never experience a day of hunger or thirst; we will never have to spend a cold night sleeping outdoors because of a lack of shelter. That is a privilege and something unique to humanity in just the last 200 years. We all take it for granted and Thanksgiving is a perfect time to reflect on just how incredible it is to live in this era of technological and medical advancements.

This Thanksgiving, consider talking a few moments of the day to sit with your family or friends and talk about all of the things that you?re thankful for. Whether it?s the ability to fly across the country in a few hours or the fact that you?re alive to spend time with your loved ones, make sure that the people who are important to you know that you?re grateful.

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