You Don’t Need A Special Day To Be Thankful
Junious Ricardo Stanton
“Thanksgiving: As a special day of prayers and thanksgiving, it was first initiated by Governor Bradford of the Plymouth colony in 1621 after the first successful harvest.” Encyclopedia of Religion page 608
The story has it that in July of 1621 the European settlers of the Plymouth Bay Colony under the leadership of Governor Bradford set aside a special day to celebrate their first successful harvest. There is more to the story and I urge you to read the late great ancestor Rev. Ishakamusa Barashango’s enlightening books Afrikan People and European Holidays: A Mental Genocide volumes one and two. The Europeans had it hard they barely survived, they weren’t prepared for the weather or the topography. According to Rev. Barashango the indigenous people regarded the Europeans as helpless children; so three members of the Wampanoag tribe took it upon themselves to be “missionaries” and they befriend the woebegone whites. A Native man named Squanto who had been captured, enslaved and taken to Spain, miraculously escaped and made his way back to America. He served as the interpreter between the indigenous people and the Europeans.
The settlers barely made it through the first winter and as a result when they did have a harvest the Governor of the colony proclaimed a day of thanksgiving, they had a celebration that lasted three days. Their Native friends (who the settlers later turned on, stole their land and tried to exterminate) provided turkey and venison for that first celebration and the colonists kept the tradition going. It eventually became a regional then a national holiday in 1939.
Today Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the U.S. But the truth of the matter is, it has become mainly a gateway to the Christmas shopping season a day of football games and gluttony. Sadly the focus is on consumerism and food rather than thanksgiving and being appreciative. The truth is we don’t need a designated day, once a year to be thankful for the blessings we have experienced, the goodness we have been showered with or even the trials and tribulations we have come through unscathed or been made wiser and stronger because of!
What are you thankful for today, today here and now; not on the fourth Thursday of November but right now. Take a moment to do as the old folks used to tell us, “count your blessings one by one.” Just for the heck of it, stop and take a moment to actually name all the things you are grateful for; for example your health, your family, a roof over your head, food to eat and clothes on your body.
Once you take the time to take inventory and reflect on all the good things going on in your life no matter how few or how many, you will think differently about yourself and your life. Take an inventory of your life and your blessings; don’t compare your life to what others have or to what they are doing, just be grateful for what you have!
We are living in a time of rapid and accelerated change. Things are happening so fast, often we think and feel we have little or no control over what is occurring in our lives and around us. Things can seem a bit overwhelming at times but when you slow down, pause and take time to be really grateful for your life, the potential, possibilities and options you have, you actually do feel better and you get a new perspective on life.
You don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to be thankful, grateful and appreciative. Take it upon yourself right now, right where you are to be grateful for who you are and what you have. Obviously if you are driving pull over and stop. Don’t worry about folks around you, this is for you, it will make you feel better. Don’t worry about what people may say or think, this is for you. When you feel good about your life, you radiate positive energy and vibrations and you actually improve the immediate physical, emotional and psychological environment right where you are. Being grateful is contagious your spirit can and will change the energy around you, that is how powerful our thoughts and feelings are. Use your energy for good being grateful is a powerful stimulant and catalyst use it often.
I wish each of you a great Thanksgiving but remember you don’t have to wait for one specially designated day to be grateful, you can be thankful all the time! If you are celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends or even if you are going solo, fill you mind with grateful thoughts and images and carry them with you throughout the day. You will be a blessing to all those around you even if they are strangers. Take full advantage of this opportunity, be thankful, be grateful and appreciate life in the here and now!