November 2011 Newsletter
Should One Give Thanks During Hard Times?
In prosperity giving thanks for abundance comes naturally; or does it? I can recall Thanksgiving Days in the Good Times when what we did most was eat too much!
Nowadays we tend to look back to the times when our house was worth more, our savings had not been leeched out of the stock market, and our children could still afford to pay their student loans. Is it any wonder that we ask if there is anything for which we can give thanks?
The Origins of Thanksgiving
No Americans were more impoverished than the Pilgrims who set aside the first day for Thanksgiving.
It is interesting to contrast their time with our time, for they had far less food, less security and less freedom than we have today.
If we go into a supermarket or a store like Trader Joe’s with its tantalizing tastes and smells, we cannot but give thanks for the abundance of our great food choices.
On that very first Thanksgiving celebration in 1621, the celebration was called to acknowledge an abundant harvest. Almost half of the immigrants attending belonged to the English Separatist Church. The rest were simple people seeking a better way of life on a new continent. They had made it through a very hard first year in America, where 46 out of the original 102 settlers had died.
At this first Thanksgiving celebration, it was the Colonists and the Indians together, who shared a joyful feast, celebrating the harvest in friendship and accord. Most of the food for the feast was donated by the supportive Indians, who even brought in five more deer when it seemed the food was running out.
Sadly the “religious” Separatists regarded Indians as heathens and with such a superior attitude any lasting constructive relationship with their new friends was all but impossible. It took but a single generation before their children and grandchildren were killing each other.
The Colonists forgot to give thanks the following year which, it was thought, ushered in a severe drought. In 1623 the drought was broken with prayer, and the governor formalized the celebration, proclaiming a special (continuing) day to give thanks.
Again it was the new Colonists and the Indians who met to give thanks.
But not all the colonists were filled with happy gratitude. There is a report of a sermon where a bigoted puritan minister gave thanks to “his vengeful god” for a devastating plague of smallpox that wiped out most of the Wampanoag Indians.
We can correctly say that Thanksgiving’s early beginnings were decidedly off-color!
Faith and Gratitude
The grateful mind expects good things; and the strong expectation of the good that is to come is closely akin to Faith.
It is a simple truth that one attracts those things on which the mind dwells. It may be a new thought, or it may be something instinctively known, that gratitude brings greater harmony with the creative energies of the universe. Some, like some early bigoted colonists, order their lives correctly, but fail to give joyful thanks.
Gratitude not only to God, but also to those early kind Indians, would have been in order and may have protected a continuing abundance.
It can be said that we get what we fear. Did some of those colonists fear the Indians, and did the Indians fear the Colonists? When we fear we look at the world from the bottom-up, a world filled with scarcity where we have to compete to just get by. With such a mindset we bring in the squalid, the poor, the stressed, and the degradation. Dissatisfaction enters in when we compare to a recent time that may have been better than now, for we have stopped creating a better future.
Giving thanks is looking at the world from the top-down – and is that not a much more God-like attitude?
Let us take a little time to look back a little further: Then we see that in the last century America has made great progress towards Religious Tolerance, Human Rights and Diversity. We encourage you to go to our Diversity Web Site that documents some of this great progress.
Maybe it is true that our lives are no longer as good as they were ten or twenty years ago, but if we look back in recorded history we have to recognize that we still enjoy freedoms and abundance today that no other nation has enjoyed in remembered history.
Happy Thanksgiving to You!
In recent times, Thanksgiving Day has become a traditional day when friends and family come together and enjoy a happy meal with roast turkey, yams, cranberry sauce and many other delicacies. That day is remembered with fondness all over America.
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How You Can Find Us
Call 661 242 1010 or go to www.picturelady.com/schedule.htm to see where we will be doing shows. The password is "art" (without the quotes).
Until next month!
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