Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thanksgiving: A Simpler and Humbler Holiday

I located an 1867 description of Thanksgiving day written by William Adams in his book Thanksgiving: Memories of the Day; Helps to the Habit (New York: Charles Scribners' Sons, 1867). [Page 5]

It is a day not indeed heralded and emblazoned, like the corresponding festivals in our ancestral land, in all the pomp and glory of song. It has not been celebrated like Christmas, by the imperial song of Milton, the dove-like notes of Herbert, or the classic beauty of Keble. Connected with it are no superstitious rites handed down from time immemorial; no revelings in baronial halls; no decorations of churches or houses with garlands or evergreens; no wassailings; no shoutings; no carols; no riotous dissipation. Simpler in its nature, humbler in its pretensions, better suited to a people of more recent origin, it is set apart to the exercise of those home-bred affections, those "honest fireside delights," which are greener than laurel or fir-tree, and which, from a natural affinity, most closely harmonize with the sweet sanctities of our holy religion.

I found this to be an interesting description of a holiday that I know some friends consider to be their favorite. Thanksgiving is a time when families get together, but it is less commercialized than Christmas. As Dr. Adams wrote, it is "simpler in its nature" and "humbler in its pretensions." We are reminded that we have so much for which to be thankful.

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