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We’ve Missed the Mayflower

By Julie Fink
Posted On Nov 26, 2015
We’ve Missed the Mayflower

It’s going to be a day of mouthwatering food, layin’ around the house in cozy, comfy sweats, watching endless classics on the tube. One might partake in a sporadic Facebook feed scrolling sessions to look at everybody else’s family Thanksgiving pics. Mom’s in the kitchen cooking, Dad is the den watching football. Soon enough, it’s time for the best part, the food. Followed by the second best part, the drinking. Followed by the third best part, Black Friday shopping.

It’s the typical American Thanksgiving adventure. Some might be more or less dramatic than others but I’m guessing this is the average Thanksgiving weekend.

Let’s compare this to the typical average American Thanksgiving day 400 years ago when this shindig first started. According to my good friend Wikipedia, The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating “thanksgivings”—days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought.

The tradition of Thanksgiving day’s continued in the late 1770’s when the Continental Congress issued thanksgiving ‘proclamations’ such as this one:

“… appointing and commanding the observation of THURSDAY the TWENTY-EIGHTH DAY OF NOVEMBER next as a day of SOLEMN THANKSGIVING to GOD for all His mercies; and they do further recommend to all ranks to testify their gratitude to God for His goodness by a cheerful obedience to His laws and by promoting, each in his station, and by his influence, the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness.”

*Pay close attention to the key terms: God, goodness, cheerful, prosperity, happiness!

Can you imagine if our government issued a proclamation of national happiness? OMG. We can’t even get past the snowflakes on our Starbucks cups. Please.

Fast forward to 1863, Wikipedia goes on to tell me that during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”, to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November.

Are you noticing a trend? A trend that doesn’t involve pink hair extensions, a Kardashian selfie or a hashtag. We’ve missed the Mayflower my friends. I mean what happened? How did we get so far off base? What about the meaning of ‘Thanks’ and ‘Giving’?

The true spirit of Thanksgiving has gotten squashed by our cultural discrepancies. This could turn into a laundry list so I’m not going to go there. However, at some point, we lost the point. Our former presidents and forefathers probably wanted us, as a nation, to band together on one day to give thanks. This would be a great day, one to be proud of, one that would be palpable.

But this is not what happened, like at all. It has turned into a circus a.k.a Black Friday, consumer driven weekend, and I think most would agree.

I’m not trying to put America down. I’m trying to understand us. We are the greatest country on planet Earth and this is an attempt to shift our perspective on the day we call Thanksgiving. I’ve pointed out part of the problem, let’s talk solutions.

Think Pre-Consumer Era.

What did people do before Black Friday deals, Thanksgiving Day football and hoards of food?

Although I don’t actually desire to live colonial settler style with all the butter churning, flu-plague and mud water situations. But it is interesting to ponder the simple life and what they did back in the day, before shopping and before television; where all that was left was family, feast and the spirit of Thanksgiving.

So here are a few suggestions to bring that Spirit back. The spirit of gratitude:

  1. Invite the Neighbors! Make it more of a community effort with a Thanksgiving Potluck for all to enjoy each others cooking and company.
  2. Instead of watching TV during the day, bring some games, cards or old photo albums to engage more with your family.
  3. Tell your family or friend thank you. Pick one thing (or multiple things) that they helped you with this year. Don’t tell it to them in an email, text or card. Tell them with your words and with your heart. Appreciate them, for real.
  4. Go to the local food bank, church or charity and feed the homeless. Living in service is one of the greatest blessings there is.
  5. If you haven’t already, start a gratitude journal and write down all the things you are grateful for. This is something you can keep doing through out the year which is a great tool for raising your thought vibration and keeping you in the flow of life.
  6. THIS IS A BIGGIE: The Three C’s
    No complaining, criticizing or condemning. Try to be mindful of your words and actions. Instead of saying, “I hate this movie,” or “I can’t stand this person at work” or “I am so annoyed with my in-laws”… turn that ship around and be grateful for breathing another day with the ones you love.

Happy Loving Prosperous Joyful Cheerful Good Fun Fabulous Thanksgiving!