THANKSGIVING should be of the heart and not of the stomach. People should remember that eating is not a form of prayer. There are many countries which set aside a time to offer thanks, but the American Thanksgiving Day is probably the one most vigorously pursued. Basically it commemorates the celebration of the Pilgrims in the Plymouth colony in 1621 for the abundant and life-saving harvest, the importance of which perhaps cannot be fully felt in today's affluent society.
In fact today, where there is so much surrounding us to be grateful for, we may tend to become inured and be grateful for nothing.
The original Thanksgiving feast lasted three days and included the neighboring Indians, who contributed much in the way of knowledge of how to survive in an untamed land. But the point of the holiday is lost if we forget that the feast is only a symbol. The well-stocked Thanksgiving table at Plymouth was the physical evidence of a heavenly blessing. It demonstrated the promise that it would be possible to live through another winter. The Pilgrims were well aware of the benevolent hand of Providence touching their resolute efforts.
When thanks are offered at the beginning of a meal, let's be sure it's not a mumbled ritual - a sort of thanks for the mashed potatoes and gravy and let's get on with it.
If our Thanksgiving is to be a real commemoration of that original celebration in 1621, we will have to be more fully aware of what the event meant to that isolated little band. We should be more aware of the fullness of the blessing that shines on us.
From beginning to end, the life of a Pilgrim was one of giving of themselves, living the faith they had in their God. Each must have understood that his reward came not in more human possessions but in what was gained in quality of spirit.
Shouldn't one's reward for giving come just in the act itself?