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Thanksgiving is a national holiday marked by religious observances and a traditional meal with turkey, dressing, and fixings with dessert. This holiday commemorates a harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621, and is held in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. Thanksgiving is an act of giving thanks; an expression of gratitude, especially of God. It is the day appointed for giving thanks for divine goodness.

The true meaning of Thanksgiving focuses upon relationship between God and man. Upon their arrival at New Plymouth, it is said that the Pilgrims composed the Mayflower Compact, which honored God. So, in America Thanksgiving begins with acknowledging God as faithful, earnestly giving Him thanks, in advance, for His abundant blessings. In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, you should present your requests to God.

Thanksgiving is an attitude of the heart that reinforces an intimate relationship with God. However, the meaning of Thanksgiving has undergone numerous transitions through time. It was an expression of gratitude for survival, the Pilgrims recognition of its flourishing community, the submission of the local Indians, the defeat over the British, all led to a collection of our nation’s traditions and values. Over the centuries, families added their customs to the Thanksgiving celebration, preserving that which they held most precious:

  • Together in unity – It is refreshing and invigorating when people come together, in celebration of a common purpose. It is a reconciliation of differences as well as a time of healing, in sharing our victories as well as our struggles, we find strength and hope.
  • To teach the young – In stories retold, each generation brings purpose and significance to the richness of their heritage. Faded pictures, sentimental decorative objects in the home, even the prayer of Thanksgiving before the meal, all form a Thanksgiving family legacy.
  • In preparation of gratitude, we reflect upon all the gifts of family, friends, and health that create the atmosphere of love in our lives. By giving thanks we choose to extend ourselves and give to others less fortunate. Out of the abundance of our hearts, we are able to offer our resources to help others.

As workers in Affordable Housing communities, let’s take time to reflect upon the greatness of a Supreme power in our lives as we care for those who may be less fortunate.

Never give up! Never give up! Never give up!

Chaplain Walter Ghosten

By Chaplain Ghosten