Today is the Thanksgiving holiday 2006 in the United States. There are celebrations in other countries that parallel to some degree this holiday. Canada has a Thanksgiving holiday in October. Australia’s is in July, I believe. And as was mentioned in our church service this morning, the roots of a “day of thanksgiving” stretch back at least 4500 years to ancient Israel.
For an insight into the distinctive nature of this holiday for one who is a native of the USA, I would be hard pressed to find better words than these, which come from an editorial first published in the Wall Street Journal in 1961 and reproduced again today as they have been every year since.
…we can all remind ourselves that the richness of this country was not born in the resources of the earth, though they be plentiful, but in the men that took its measure. For that reminder is everywhere–in the cities, towns, farms, roads, factories, homes, hospitals, schools that spread everywhere over that wilderness.
We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.
And we might remind ourselves also, that if those men setting out from Delftshaven had been daunted by the troubles they saw around them, then we could not this autumn be thankful for a fair land.
Read the entire thing. It’s well worth a few moments of your time.