Thanksgiving Day

The New Secular Puritan Covenant

Thanksgiving brings back memories for Americans of the Pilgrims and Puritans, carrying out their “errand into the wilderness” to build a “city on a hill,” surviving that first bleak Massachusetts winter of 1620-21. As a kid, I remember that cutting out Puritan hats from black construction paper and taping them to the school windows was [...]

Five Things to Thank God for on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has become a secular holiday. It is a time for family get-togethers, sports events and shopping trips. There is some, but not enough giving of thanks on Thanksgiving. Moreover, when gratitude is felt, it frequently remains just a feeling that is not directed toward a good and personal God. Then too, when people thank [...]

Overcoming Family Divisions on Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving is rapidly becoming runner-up to Christmas as poster child in the “holiday wars.” Christmas remains the feast that dare not speak its name, re-(de)christened as “winter holiday.” (What do politically correct Aussies call it?) Thanksgiving has kept its name but been hollowed out. Do we have any communal answer to the question “to whom/what [...]

On Giving Thanks

The Pilgrims first sighted land off Cape Cod on November 9, 1620 after spending 65 days at sea. They rejoiced singing Psalm 100, a traditional song of thanksgiving. But as William Bradford recorded in Of Plymouth Plantation, it was winter when, “all things stand upon them with a weatherbeaten face.” “They had no friends to [...]

First National Thanksgiving Proclamation 1777

IN CONGRESS November 1, 1777 FORASMUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for Benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of: And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy, [...]

Homesick at Home: A Chestertonian Thanksgiving

“Frances! Come here! Come here at once!” Frances Chesterton started and flew from her half-prepared afternoon tea to the study where she had left her husband reading. With flapping apron and flitting heart, she rushed to see what he could possibly be bellowing about so urgently. His voice had not ceased to call for her [...]

The Commercialization of Thanksgiving—and So Much Else

Thanksgiving is rapidly competing with Christmas as a candidate holiday for the next cultural war. We know, of course, that December 25 is the holiday that dare not speak its name, having been transmogrified into “winter holiday” lest delicate ears be offended by “C-h-r-i-s-t-m-a-s.” Thanksgiving, so far, has managed to retain its name of religious [...]

Gratitude For Those Who Are Gone

An old and valued friend, who retired after a half-century cheerfully and productively spent in the classroom, used to tell me that it was silly to think anyone would remember him once he was gone.  “Like a stone falling into a river,” he’d say, using one of several similes to which he was drawn, “I’ll [...]

Eating Like Kings: A Thanksgiving Reflection

Thanksgiving is an occasion for gratitude. That being the case, Thanksgiving essays commonly exhort readers to look past the food and lift their minds to higher things. Properly understood, the turkey is not the main course, so much as a delightful side dish that can fuel warm reflections on family, home, nature, and creation as [...]

Louisa May Alcott on How to Give Thanks

When I first read “An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving” by Louisa May Alcott in her collection of short stories entitled Aunt Jo’s Scrap-Bag, I was—truth be told—unmoved. But truth is often painful … and embarrassing. The temptations to label this little-known episode from the well-known author of Little Women as cliché and cloying are quite real. They are, nevertheless, temptations [...]

Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to recommend to the people of the United States [...]

Giving Thanks for Thanks

Why do we give thanks to God for his gifts? There's something redundant about it. He neither requires nor benefits from our thanks, any more than he does our praise. We don't thank God so that, like the dentist friend on Seinfeld who doled out hockey tickets only until Jerry stopped thanking him, he'll know [...]

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