Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Celebrating Thankfulness

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the United States. An official holiday only since 1863, but celebrated for as long as European colonists have inhabited the continent. Traditionally, we trace the Thanksgiving celebration back to the Pilgrims of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Their first celebration of thanksgiving for the harvest (and their survival after a year in New England) took place in 1621, but most likely earlier in the year. The date of the feast was possibly September 29th, according to one historian. That date coincides with Michaelmas, which incidentally is celebrated as Goose Day here in central Pennsylvania.

Well, now that we've covered the background, let's talk about today. How do we celebrate our thankfulness for living in the richest nation on earth in the richest time in history? Many of us celebrate by overeating and falling asleep in the afternoon. We'll need our rest because at midnight we get up and go out to the shopping malls and attempt to kill each other in order to get a slight discount on some junk that we probably don't really need.

Huh? Does that sound like the behavior of people who are truly thankful for what they have?

Our behaviors around this time of the year seem more like celebrations of gluttony and greed than thankfulness. Now, I like turkey and mashed potatoes as much as the next guy (maybe even more so - we cook a turkey here at least 5 or 6 times per year) but mass consumption of the native fowl does little to show how thankful we are.

What does true thankfulness look like? To be honest, I'm not entirely sure. Maybe I'm not thankful enough, or at least don't show it enough. I believe that a person who is really thankful would display qualities such as contentment, joy, and charity. If I asked my family and friends, would they say that I exhibit those traits?

Perhaps what we need is for some modern-day Charles Dickens to write a Thanksgiving Carol and restore the true meaning of the holiday. I'll start working on it. The main characters will all be frogs.

Amphibian.com comic for 26 November 2014