Everyone has their favorite holiday or day of the year. My favorite season is fall, favorite month is November, and favorite day is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the last great holiday left. The once great Christmas has been taken over by the high end retail firms and the big box stores. Easter should really be the greatest of all holidays, but my mom always made me wear a pastel frock. In my book, Halloween was never even in the top five. Nope, there just isn’t a holiday as great as Thanksgiving.
Traditionally Thanksgiving is a time to rest and give thanks after the harvest season. Here in the United States we trace the origin of Thanksgiving back to 1621 and the feast shared by the colonists of Plymouth, Massachusetts and Wampanoag Indians. Turkey was not on the menu. The Indians supplied many dried meats and grains. The colonist prepared fowl, deer, fish, and lobster for the feast. Turkey didn’t come to the party until much later. Just after the Battle of Saratoga, the Continental Congress asked all colonies to celebrate a day of thanksgiving for the victory over the British army.
Early in our nation’s history, our forefathers and mothers instilled in us the importance of stopping to thank our Creator for his grace, mercy and bountiful kindness. Abraham Lincoln, with a little encouragement from a magazine editor, signed into law the last Thursday in November to be observed as a national holiday. Lincoln was hopeful that this holiday would help the nation on the brink of war. The legislation didn’t bring peace to a nation divided, but has government ever solved a problem? Thanksgiving would lead to millions of families celebrating with Butterball turkey on their plates and a TV remote in their hands watching either Detroit or Dallas.
At my house on a farm in Mississippi we celebrate with the best of traditions. My mom cooks a twenty-plus pounds turkey overnight. The morning of Thanksgiving, as Macy’s Thanksgiving parade is on NBC, she prepares cornbread dressing with the drippings from the roasted turkey. We always have the same menu and way too much of everything. Coming together as family is really the best part of the holiday. However, I don’t think I would understand the greatness of Thanksgiving if I didn’t come from a farming family. The farm’s harvest is the best visual or teaching tool to show God’s sovereign power over the universe. God takes care of every detail, the rain, the temperature, the bugs and critters, and the farmer.
One of the most memorable Thanksgivings on the farm was while I was in college. I was home helping mom cook while Walter and Daddy had to work Thanksgiving morning picking cotton. It had been a rough harvest season with rain keeping them out of the field and forcing the crops to stay. The last cotton was picked that morning and my dad in his Ford pickup truck lead a line of John Deere cotton pickers and tractors home. It was the coolest Thanksgiving Day parade ever. My mom still cooked the same meal that day, but we did have a contingency plan to eat in the field if they didn’t get done.
The joy of Thanksgiving is being with family and praising the Master of all things. And when it comes to football, when and if Mississippi State beats Ole Miss we will be extra thankful! I hope everyone has a wonderful Turkey Day! Thanks for your friendship and for reading my random blog! I hope your turkey is filling, your team wins, and your afternoon nap is restful!