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Article 1 (Nov 2019): A Thanksgiving message
November 26, 2019Above the din, can we hear a thank you? Does it perhaps seem a little noisy: politics, work, the stock market and family? The cacophony of modern life sometimes seems overwhelming.
Thanksgiving is a kind of simple refuge from all that. We can enjoy a great meal, a football game, reminiscing with friends and relatives, and we can make our own, more pleasant din.
That alone should be enough to make us grateful.
Gratitude was almost certainly an element of the Pilgrims' first Thanksgiving in 1621. The event -- now both criticized and beloved, steeped in myth both bad and good -- was a festive break from hardship. They didn't know yet their harvest would be disappointing. They didn't yet know they would reject their ideas of holding goods common. There was dissension and strife over food and work.
The Pilgrim's story rings with gratitude, but also desperation. In England, they were imprisoned and impoverished because they wished to worship their own way. They went to Holland, where they could worship, but really no longer remain English, which was their identity and pride. So they traveled 66 days to the New World in a leaky ship, over angry waves, stuffed into a ship's hold, seasick, and frightened. They landed in what was the wilderness of Cape Cod in November. Whatever comfort could be found, they would have to make it themselves. Half of the pilgrims died in the winter of 1621, leaving just 52 to carry on.
They suffered all this just to be true to themselves: To worship as they pleased, own their work, speak their own language, and govern themselves.
On Thanksgiving, let us be grateful that we stand on the strong shoulders of our forbearers and enjoy our freedoms.
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