In less than a month American’s throughout the world will celebrate Thanksgiving. Here in the U.S.A. it mostly means stuffing turkeys, roasting them, and then stuffing ourselves with them. Later we’d try to make room for pumpkin pie. (Opps. Sorry. We don’t stuff turkeys any more. It’s too dangerous. I am informed that there’s apparently a potential for bacteria to grow inside the stuffing that doesn’t get well cooked after four hours at 350 degrees. Seriously.)
In school, back in the fifties, I remember studying about the First Thanksgiving in America. It was in 1621. The Pilgrims who’d frozen their patooties and starved during their first winter in what is now Plymouth Massachusetts got together to show their gratitude to the native peoples who’d helped them survive. I think there was also a part in there somewhere in which the Pilgrims also thanked G-D, too. School plays prominently displayed turkeys, pumpkins, Pilgrim hats, and American Indian headdresses.
When I did an Internet search on origin of Thanksgiving, to get a few fun facts, I found an article in Huff Post, The Truth About Thanksgiving: What They Never Taught You in School (Originally published in 2011, and updated in 2016). I admit to sighing, thinking to myself, “Here we go again! Deconstructionist Revisionist history by Left-of-Center writers who want to take away our cherished traditions, replacing them with their version, their facts.” But I have to admit the article was pretty interesting, despite holding true to my preconceived notion of how the Left sees things.
“Rush allows. . . ‘it was capitalism and Scripture which [sic] saved the day.’ ” And it wasn’t just a bitter winter and shortage of food that imperiled Pilgrim survival; it was, you guessed it, socialism, and those commune dwelling hippie Pilgrims themselves,” wrote Mr. Schiffman.
It’s not just Mr. Limbaugh who is politicizing Thanksgiving, however.
“While Thanksgiving’s enthusiasts view it as a celebration of the boldness, piety and sacrifices of the first European migrants to American shores, the holiday’s critics claim that it whitewashes the genocide and ethnic cleansing of indigenous people,” wrote Mr. Schiffman.
Apparently, depending on your viewpoint, America’s Thanksgiving either celebrates, as President Abraham Lincoln said when he proclaimed it a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” or it is, as Mr. Schiffman wrote, a day in which Americans should “openly acknowledging the sins of our collective past.” For only then “is it possible to proceed toward a future that all Americans can feel thankful for.”
Okay. Thanksgiving Day in America is offensive to some, fun for others, and probably just another day for everyone else. I appreciate Mr. Schiffman’s article, and his reasonably balanced viewpoint. Given my opinion of HuffPost as a Liberal Rag, I am surprised that it was published. I’d have thought the article would call for canceling the National Holiday, offering reparations to native populations, and tearing down some statues somewhere or other. Rather, it’s food for thought.
I’m grateful to Mr. Schiffman for his article. And it brings up a point to consider: How do we deal with that which is offensive to us?
The other day I went to a restaurant for to pickup lunch for my wife and I. There was a Halloween display in the waiting area at the front of the restaurant. I found it disturbing. Offensive, even.
What bothered me? [I could have made a video of it, as it wasn’t simply a static display.] The display was animated, included witches chanting curses while stirring the pot. I sat there for quite a while as the place was very busy. In the background I listened to these imitation curses. I thought about Cabbage Patch dolls
It was 1978. The dolls were all the rage. Literally. People actually fought over them to buy them. They were offered at incredibly marked up prices, too. And there was no end to the controversy surrounding them. Apparently, when a child received one of them, they were to sign an adoption form. Some people thought that the dolls were instruments of witches. Real witches. And that signing the papers meant the child would accept the curse attached to the doll.
Did you raise an eyebrow at “real witches”? There are witches, you know. A knew a woman once that was a witch. She said she was a white witch. That meant her spells were only good spells. She might be offended by the old witches in the restaurant display, too. I imagine she thought it a bit over-the-top to think Cabbage Patch Kids were cursed, too.
Finally, my order arrived and I left the restaurant. I didn’t complain about the ugly, offensive witch display, I didn’t say I’d never be back. I mean, seriously, where can I get Pho (Vietnamese soup) for two for under twenty bucks that makes two meals each for us? Besides, displays like the witches are all over the place. And as offensive as it is, it’s not my world, my place.
But I couldn’t help thinking that those witches were speaking, cursing, casting spells. What if they were the product of some witches. Not White Witches, like my friend. Black Witches, perhaps? What if everyone going into the restaurant falls under the spell of the head witch who cast the spell on the animated witches?
Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, a curse that is causeless does not alight.
No worries. No curse shall fall upon people without cause.
Why do bad things happen then, and how can I be grateful for them?
Kind David wrote that G-D “made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again.” (Psalm 71:20) Calamities came, but G-D revived King David in their aftermath.
Back to Thanksgiving. According to Mr. Schiffman, American Indians or Native Americans or, as Mr. Schiffman says, indigenous people, consider Thanksgiving a commemoration of the End of the World that they knew. Genocide. He wrote, that they consider Thanksgiving ” a ‘national day of mourning’ in remembrance of the destruction of Indian culture and peoples.
Regardless of how the First Thanksgiving came about, or was celebrated, today for many of us, it is a day that we set aside for family and gratitude to our Heavenly Father for all that He has done. Despite the trials and the tribulations we may experience in the world, in our lives on Earth, all the things we find offensive, and distasteful, we who know G-D, Father through YeshuaJesus by the Power of the Holy Spirit, look toward a great reward and a great Feast in Heaven.
In the meantime, as Mr. Schiffman puts it, we have an obligation for “openly acknowledging the sins of our collective past.” It seems to me we would do well to stop being so offended at everything and everybody, and consider how offensive we, our selves, can be to others.