Thanksgiving is a special and truly American holiday. What started as a shared Autumn harvest among Plymouth colonists and Native Americans has evolved to include family reunions, delicious food, football and parades, but the heart of the holiday remains the acknowledgement to God for his bountiful blessings on our lives, and the precious gift of gathering with friends and family to celebrate.
The celebration now regarded as the First Thanksgiving was a three-day feast in 1621 to commemorate the colonists’ first harvest as well as thank the local Indians who helped teach them crucial survival skills. Gratitude and the coming together of friends and family have always been a focus of the holiday.
Prayer services have also been a focus of the holiday from the start. It is important to remember that the colonists who organized this feast escaped religious persecution in Europe and came to America in search of freedom to worship. The determination of those colonists to find a home where they could freely practice their faith is the basis for the enshrinement of religious freedom in the U.S. Constitution.
For generations, Americans have fought to defend that right. This Thanksgiving, I am especially thankful for the Americans, past and present, who have helped secure and maintain our freedoms.
Thanksgiving also marks the opening to the holiday season as shoppers get ready for Christmas. It is critical to support our local businesses by shopping local. Many of these businesses are still recovering from the pandemic, and competing with consumer behavior trends towards online shopping is a persisting challenge.
Small businesses are the foundation of our communities. I encourage us to choose to spend our money at our local small businesses this season and moving forward as they plan holiday purchases.
As we gather with our families for Thanksgiving, remember those around us who may not have families to embrace. Let us invite them in and show one another God’s Love. May God’s blessings continue to fall on you, our District and our state.