Today in the USA is Thanksgiving!
It's the annual holiday, celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, which goes back to the earliest days of the country that became the United States of America.
Back in 1621, a year after the Pilgrim Fathers (and Mothers) landed at Plymouth Colony on America's north east coast - in the present day state of Massachusetts - those early settlers held a harvest feast and religious service to celebrate a successful first growing season at the Plymouth Plantation. A year before they had been in dire straits after the journey on the Mayflower ship which brought them from England to a life in the New World where they hoped to be able to live peacefully and to worship as they wished, as English Protestant Puritans. The journey and first months in the new country had seen disease and many deaths but there was still reason to celebrate a year into their new adventure.
What started out as sporadic autumn harvest or early winter feasts accompanied by religious observances, down the years became incorporated into the American way of life and a civil tradition which today is called 'Thanksgiving'. Today also marks the beginning of the fall-winter holiday season, which includes Christmas and the New Year and it's a day for celebrations including festivals and parades, fun, food, family and friends.
Although, of course, we all know it's good to give thanks EVERY DAY, I do love the idea of one day being set aside where we can think about everything we've been given and say 'thank you'. A day set aside to be grateful and feel appreciation, to thank each other and to thank the Almighty for all his goodness to us, if we're that way inclined.
So today, let's reflect on all the things we have for which we could or should give thanks.
The people who are precious to us - family, friends - our homes and work, the comforts we experience, the love in our lives, the places we live in - the sea and ocean, the beaches and the fresh air. These gifts are on my Thanksgiving List.
I know not everyone may feel blessed, but I hope we all have something which we may give thanks for today - even if it's just the life we have, the air we breathe and the sight of the sky and the sun.
I love this poem by the American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson - it sums up this spirit of appreciation.
It's just so simple. It's not about 'stuff', or things we've acquired, or great success.
It's just the world we are blessed to inhabit, the natural world and the dawn of every new day, and the love of family and friends.
And we don't have to live in the USA or be Americans to be thankful.
That saying ...
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends.
Have a wonderful day!!