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How accurate are our histories of Thanksgiving? What is Thanksgiving all about?
Turkey Day or Thanksgiving?

Rethinking Gratitude

Publication Date:
11/11/2009
Pages:
0
Session(s)
1
Product Type:
Internet Download
Youth Study
Product Number:
TC5066
DOWNLOADTG

Who doesn't love Thanksgiving? For many of us it means a four-day weekend, great food, and annual marathons of football and family. But other than the few moments spent saying a blessing before the big meal, the concept of giving thanks on Thanksgiving is often lost in the hustle and bustle of the holiday.

It's time to take a fresh look at this wonderful holiday through the eyes of our youth. How do teens view the Thanksgiving holiday? Do they see it as a vacation from school and a time to get a great deal at the mall on Black Friday? Or do they look forward to time spent with family?

The traditional history of Thanksgiving that many of us learned as children is actually full of stereotypes and is inaccurate on many counts. We recall learning that the Pilgrims came to the New World seeking religious freedom and the right to worship their Creator in their own way; but the New World was a harsh place in which to establish a home. The Native Americans taught them how to survive and, as the story goes, after bringing in a harvest that could sustain them for the winter, the Pilgrims invited the Indians to celebrate with feasting, games, and merriment--the first Thanksgiving.

Of course, just because this story has been embellished over the years does not mean it has no worth. Celebrating the values of cooperation, sharing, and giving thanks is a worthy goal for us all. Thanksgiving calls us to reflect on how our current celebrations either uphold or dilute our call to give thanks.

Martha Miller is a certified Christian educator and a Presbyterian elder. She currently serves as the Associate for Certification and Christian Vocation for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).


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