There is much controversy in some corners about where the first Thanksgiving took place. Most would argue that it historically took place at Plymouth Rock with the Pilgrims and Indians in 1621. Now if you were to ask my mother, history degree holder that she is, she will emphatically insist the first REAL American Thanksgiving took place in 1619, 20 miles from the fort at Jamestown, Virginia on what would become Berkeley Plantation. There is even an earlier feast that is argued by some to be the first American Thanksgiving was held in St. Augustine, Florida in 1565 with the arrival of Spanish soldiers. The first practiced Thanksgivings were proclaimed by George Washington during the Revolutionary War and many others to be held in the years that followed. But it didn’t officially become an annual practice until Abraham Lincoln declared a day to be set aside for giving thanks in the midst of the horror of the Civil War in 1863. It became an official national holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, by the Congress and signed into law by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941. No matter what your take on the historical facts of this day, there is one fact that everyone can agree upon: the practice of preparing a grand feast of recently harvested food, saying blessings and giving thanks, then sitting down and eating together has existed as far back as man itself has.
Of course Pagan and Wicca faiths, hold multiple harvest feasts according to the Wheel of the Year and the Sabbats: Lammas, Mabon and Samhain being the main three. This is likely where Thanksgiving got a large portion of its roots, just as many other Christian holidays do. But like the other Christian holidays, those Pagan/pre-Christian roots have been buried and lost. There is no reason the roots of pre-Christian/Pagan practiced harvest feasting and the blessings of Yeshua and God/dess cannot be combined into one great feast of Thanksgiving.
In many families, including my own, it is common practice to say a prayer before dinner thanking God for our blessings individually and as a family. We also take turns saying what we are thankful for, even my 3 year old daughter has learned to do this, with much practice with Mommy and Nick Jr. on television! Of course the answers are usually the same, everything from my family to God to my video games and toys (this is my children’s answer!). Even those without a spiritual or religious faith can find ways to be thankful for the things they have in their lives on this day. So I ask you can you? We focus so much on what is wrong with our lives, Thanksgiving is the day to focus on what is right. So tomorrow when the turkey is cooked, the potatoes are mashed, the rolls are buttered and you are sitting at a table with your loved ones, give thanks! Thank those that grew the food you will eat, both human and spirit. Thank God/dess for everything you have and for the light of the world, Yeshua. May the love and light of Jesus bless you and all who are yours. Blessed Be in Christ!