IN THE SPIRIT OF THANKSGIVING
It was in the early 1600’s that migrant settlers from around the globe came to settle the vast lands of Canada and the United States of America. It was a time of great discovery when travel was arduous and at times perilous, especially on the open seas.
The Canadian origin of Thanksgiving came about following a great journey by explorer Martin Frobisher who had set out to discover a northern passage route to the Pacific Ocean. Upon safe journey’s end from the long and oft dangerous journey to the Northwest Passage Frobisher celebrated his safe homecoming with a formal ceremony in Newfoundland. The day became a tradition with the proclamation of good bounty and general thanks for all good things in one’s life.
Around the same historical period French settlers arrived at New France in the company of Samuel de Champlain and together they celebrated their historic and successful harvest by sharing food with indigenous peoples of the region.
Successive settlements of Canada and the U.S. brought about more celebrations of good harvest. Immigrants from Europe brought with them their own traditional celebrations of harvest including settlers of Irish, Scottish and German decent amoung others.
In the United States the origin point of American Thanksgiving was borne of Plymouth colonists settling at Plymouth Plantation in 1621. There, the colonists shared their bountiful harvest with the Wampanoag Indians.
A Presidential Proclamation (1863): It was in the midst of the historic Civil War in 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a day of national celebration to be known as Thanksgiving Day. The tradition of a harvest meal became symbolic, on the North American continent especially, of a day set aside to give thanks for bountiful food, family, friends and life and all its giving in general. In the United States the day became symbolic of cooperation and interaction between colonists and Native Americans.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving we join hands and break bread with our family, our friends and neighbours. It is a time of rest and quiet reflections of present and past, explorations, settlements, successful harvest. This day of thanks is a day to set aside distractions of life that remind us of what is wrong in this world, a day to celebrate our Providence. It is through the courage and conviction of our forefathers, those early settlers to our lands, that we now enjoy the life that we are blessed to have and share. We are rich in possession, saved harmless from peril, clothed and bathed, and sleep with a roof over our heads and warm bed of linen.
We have much while so many have so little. We inhabit a continent rich in history, geography, natural resource, religion and a vibrant human spirit second to none. We reap the rewards of our erstwhile ambitions.
We give thanks in praise, in prayer, in solemn and joyous celebration for the Frobishers, de Champlains, Lincolns and all others who have individually and collectively won our freedom and liberty. We give thanks for the fallen, both near and far.
We give thanks for the iridescent glow of the moon, the warmth and life force of the sun, rivers bountiful in fish and lands where the wildlife roam. We give thanks for the timely cessation of war, the faith of mankind, the desire to rebuild.
May we rise above intolerance, hatred and fear, the prejudiced inclinations of another human being. We are bred amoung nations of God fearing souls, and excel unto ambitions, the world our welcome stage.
We embrace each newfound miracle and live out our destiny. Let us pause to always remember…giving thanks this day of days. In the spirit of Thanksgiving may all thanks be in our giving.
Copyright Don MacIver 2010; All Rights Reserved