At Thanksgiving we often stop to think of things we are thankful for and as Americans, we have a lot to be grateful for. We live in freedom, we can worship as we choose, and most of us have enough food, clothing and adequate shelter.
We are as blessed as any people in the world, but sometimes we forget that and want even more. Let’s remember that a lot of the world’s population goes to bed hungry every night in homes that few Americans would be willing live in.
It is good to remind ourselves that we are lucky and to thank God for our blessings. That’s what Thanksgiving really is, a time to give thanks. The Pilgrims started it more than 300 years ago when they gathered to thank God for a bountiful harvest. That three-day feast typically referred to as the “first Thanksgiving” took place in 1621 and included wildfowl, corn, venison and praise to God.
Pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley celebrated their first thanksgiving August 10, 1848 after the seagulls had helped rescue them from the cricket infestation earlier that year. A BYU historian, Ronald K. Esplin, reported that one pioneer wrote “A Splendid Dinner was Spread under the Bowery prepared for the occasion and Several hundred sat down to a rich repast to which all contributed ” Parley P Pratt summarized: “We partook freely of a rich variety of bread, beef, butter, cheese, cakes, pastry, green corn, melons, and almost every variety of vegetables.” Esplin explained that “lettuce, radishes, beets, onions, peas, carrots, cucumbers, parsnips, squash, and beans were available by then” but probably neither pumpkins nor potatoes.
Today Thanksgiving is a time for family gatherings around a table of turkey, potatoes, stuffing and pie, often followed by watching football games. But it’s important that we don’t forget the real meaning of Thanksgiving. So when you sit down with your family for Thanksgiving dinner, take time to count your blessings and thank God for them—not everyone gets all they want, but everyone can be grateful for what they have.
Author: Darryl Alder | Strategic Initiatives Director, Utah National Parks Council, BSA. We invite you to get social with this article: