Thanksgiving, what a strange holiday it is for me. What a strange holiday it is for our country.
In elementary school, I was taught that the first Thanksgiving was a celebration of the Pilgrims' first bountiful harvest. They invited the Native Americans who taught them how to grow corn and farm the land. They even established a peace treaty. It wasn't lost on me even at a young age that the very people the Pilgrims celebrated their bounty with were the same people other Englishmen would persecute and kill only a few years later.
As a high school student, I was still upset by the contradictions of Thanksgiving. I partook in the festivities, but not until I gave my parents speeches about all the broken peace treaties between the newcomers and Indigenous Americans.
Years later after my daughter's first grade Thanksgiving play romanticized the holiday, I knew I had to tell both my kids the truth. I told them how the Puritans followed after the Pilgrims when they learned of the bountiful crops and peace treaties with the Native Americans. I told them of the bloodshed and subsequent stealing of native lands that followed soon after the first and last peaceful Thanksgiving. Incorporated in our discussion was how First Americans probably feel about the holiday now.
After years on my soap box, I got off of it. I tried focusing more on praising God for my blessings and working to help bestow God's blessing on those who were most in need. I was comfortable with my new outlook for a short period. For so many in our country, Thanksgiving seemed to be an excuse to be anything but grateful. Thanksgiving for so many marked the start of the season of greed.
In my estimation, greed is the perfect connection between modern day Thanksgiving and historical Puritan Thanksgivings. For one fleeting moment, America's newcomers were thankful for what God had blessed them with. Almost immediately, they wanted more. They wanted more land and more control of the lands through enslavement and killing Native Americans. They were not thankful at all, they were covetous. In present day, many Americans rush eating their Thanksgiving dinner, some even skip the meal all together, because what they have been blessed with isn't nearly enough. Blessings forgotten, the insatiable appetite for more takes over and they leave for the sales at the mall.