November is traditionally the month dedicated to giving thanks. This officially became a Federal holiday in 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that November 26th would be a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” Most of us know the tale that forms the frame of the Thanksgiving Story, about the Pilgrims who celebrated their first harvest in the New World in 1621. The feast, which last three days, was attended by Native Americans and Pilgrims alike.
Of course, there are mixed feelings about Thanksgiving. There are those who argue that Thanksgiving, similar to Columbus Day, glorifies the mistreatment of Native Americans. Others object to the holiday on the grounds of separation of church and state, declaring that a Federal holiday should not be proclaiming thanks to God. Recently, the holiday has been more closely tied to football and the blow-out sales of Black Friday than to spending time with family. Perhaps it is time that we make a concerted effort take back the holiday and focus it on what is really important: acknowledging the people and friends in our life and giving thanks for their presence. Heck, let's forget the notion that this should be celebrated only once a year. Why not make this an every day mantra by which we live?
Let me be the first to start this movement. I am thankful for so many things and will continue to remain so for as long as I breathe. I am thankful for my family and the love and support they provide. I am thankful for this town of State College that has provided my family a fresh start and a new perspective on life. I am thankful for this congregation, whose devotion to making the lives of others better is awe-inspiring. I am thankful for the families who call this congregation a home; who believe in the importance of a well-rounded religious experience. And of course, I am thankful for the large handful of volunteers who dedicate their time to helping me on my journey as your DLRE. There is not enough room in this newsletter for me to list all the people and things for which I am thankful. But know that I hold them in my heart, every day, and give thanks for their existence.
For what are YOU thankful?
Grace and Blessings,