Column: Thanks and prayers for this holiday
Although Jamestown and the Commonwealth of Virginia may not agree, it is generally acknowledged that the first Thanksgiving in America was celebrated in the fall of 1621 at the Plymouth Plantation in what is now Massachusetts. It was celebrated by the Pilgrims and their friends from the Wampanoag tribe, who had helped them learn to grow crops, hunt and fish.
The feast lasted three days, and today we Americans seem to continue this multi-day festival with a full turkey dinner on Thursday, turkey sandwiches on Friday, turkey ala king Saturday, and turkey frame soup or other leftover creations on Sunday and later until the leftovers have been consumed.
While secularists and historical revisionists may contend otherwise, any arguments that Thanksgiving was anything other than a religion-based holiday have to be so convoluted as to appear foolish on their face. The Pilgrims were not giving thanks to mother Earth or Ra the Sun God of Egypt. They were conveying their appreciation to the Judeo-Christian God that they worshiped. They were thanking their God for a good harvest that would take them through the winter.
If you think that because Thanksgiving became a national holiday it has somehow turned into a non-religious celebration, think again. If it were secular, it might be called a Nature Admiration Day or something similarly uninteresting and esoteric. It's still called Thanksgiving and that means that the thanks are directed to something. In this case, they were historically directed to our God.
Here's further evidence. In 1863, at the height of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared that the last Thursday in November was to be a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens." If that statement isn't the antithesis of secularism, what is? The holiday we celebrate today was based on an unwavering belief in the God of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
In that spirit, I am offering my thanks and my prayers. I thank God for a loving wife and a strong marriage. I pray that it continues and our health enables it to. I thank God for our sons and their wives. I pray that their marriages go on blossoming and that they raise our grandchildren to be as loving, hardworking and as good parents as they have become.
I give thanks that we live in a country that still has the framework of the Constitution on which our form of government was founded. I pray that the erosion of that Constitutional foundation is not only entirely halted, but that the rule of Constitutional law is altogether restored.
I am thankful that many Americans are becoming aware of the intrusiveness of a would-be cradle-to grave, nanny government. I pray that more of our citizen will see that those who believe in fiscal responsibility, upholding the Constitution, limited government and free markets, are anything but radical. I pray they will see that only the most rank demagogue would use the vile term "tea bagger" for those holding those traditional beliefs.
I give thanks that I am still able to be critical of our government without fear of a knock on the door in the middle of the night. I pray that I will not be targeted by the IRS or other government agency for expressing views that are contrary to government policies or the administration's agenda.
I thank God that I am able to exercise my religion, under the First Amendment. I pray that the appellate courts and/or the Supreme Court will find it unconstitutional for the government to make me pay, through taxes, for medical procedures that are unequivocally opposed by the religion I believe in. I pray that everyone will see the justice in giving the legal status of a human being to those who are not yet born.
I am very thankful that we live in such a caring and cohesive area. When tragedy strikes, we come together, address and work to solve our difficulties. I pray that we will all see that this is a much more effective, economic and efficient way to confront most issues than relying on a one-size-fits-all central, bureaucratic government entity based thousands of miles away.
On a personal basis, I thank the Lord for giving me, from birth, a positive attitude and a good sense of humor. I pray that this will continue and that my belief that all challenges that we face both individually and as a country, will, at least eventually, be overcome.
Lastly, I pray that you will all have a Happy Thanksgiving.