Tuesday, November 23, 2010
A Day of Thanks and Giving
Thanksgiving is a season of reflection on successes, challenges and life's many blessings. As I reflect on the year 2010, I am thankful that I woke up this morning but I am puzzled. I cannot understand, and dare I say, believe, that we live in a country once known as the bread basket of the world that is capably of witnessing so much hunger in the land. Our government in an attempt to camouflage the impact of this suffering has created a new phrase – “Food Insecurity”. SHOCKING!!!
I am one who firmly believes that giving of yourself to the benefit of others is humanities greatest gift. Being a benevolent spirit I have experienced my share of mountains, milestones, and valleys. In addition, my generosity has sometime been viewed as a weakness, which I am pleased to say that it has not turned my heart into stone. To that point, my heart requires the blessings and the reward of giving. However, what I have learned is that you don’t give to those who want your help, rather to those who need your help!
Now, that brings me to my Thought Provoking Perspective – Thanksgiving!
In the supposed richest nation in the world we live in a nation of rampant hunger, homelessness, and despair. The Bible tells us that when Jesus faced such challenges, in one case, he took two fish and a loaf of bread and feed his legion of follower. There are many churches, community group, and non-profits that are desperately modeled on the tradition of giving trying to meet the needs of many, and I applauded them for their compassion. But our government would rather support the greedy than the needy. We have enough bombs to destroy the entire universe, yet most of the planet is starving or as they might say suffer from “Food Insecurity”.
It was all most fifty years ago, when then President Johnson, declared a “War on Poverty” and today there is more poverty than ever. Why? I think it’s important to note that you don’t have to be on the streets to be struggling with hunger and yes, despair. If the rich who have all the advantages are struggling with this crisis; how do you think the least of thee is fairing? I must ask, where is the mercy and compassion for humanity?
Let’s forget about the notion that America really cares because we witnessed just a few years ago as a major city drowned and the country consciously watched. Of course, our government will find and send billion to “help” any other nation on the planet. But my question is; if you opened your heart to help another soul during this so called special day, what will you do Friday and thereafter. Does it, make you feel good, to do this good deed on the holiday or is it like Sunday when you go to church and leave the message there until next week?
The whole concept of Thanksgiving is a misnomer – it is a commercial event. The origins began in 1621, when the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn't until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
Some Native Americans and others take issue with how the Thanksgiving story is presented to the American public, especially to schoolchildren. In their view, the traditional narrative paints a deceptively sunny portrait of relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people, masking the long and bloody history of conflict between Native Americans and European settlers that resulted in the deaths of millions.
Since 1970, protesters have gathered on the day designated as Thanksgiving at the top of Cole’s Hill, which overlooks Plymouth Rock, to commemorate a “National Day of Mourning.” Similar events are held in other parts of the country. Historians have noted that Native Americans had a rich tradition of commemorating the fall harvest with feasting and merrymaking long before Europeans set foot on their shores.
So, like I said, let’s forget about those views and look at your neighbors, community, or in the mirror and realize that it is an issue, crisis, that affects mankind, real people, human beings, and yes, children. Thanksgiving should not be a day created for parades, football, and self. You might also want to consider that next year it might be you facing homelessness and hunger.
Lastly, an individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. So les make this day one of being thankful and giving. Just remember that you were born to become a blessing: BE ONE!!!
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