Thanksgiving was always one of my favorite holidays. I loved the food, the football, the fall season, the football, the listing of all the things to give thanks for, and the football!
Then I married a Navajo and everything got different. Politially aware American Indians don't celebrate Thanksgiving because they know the history of the holiday. In fact, some of the more radically political demonstrate against Thanksgiving, as we saw on the news just yesterday when Indians protested a group of Pilgrims on pilgrimage to Plymouth Rock.
Briefly, the "Pilgrim and Indian" event that Abraham Lincoln lifted up as the model for a national holiday to bring North and South together wasn't a Thanksgiving, really. The first harvest meal with Pilgrims and Indians did happen, but it wasn't a Thanksgiving celebration. The first colony wide declared Thanksgiving celebration occurred some 40 years later as a celebration of victory, when the descendents of those first Pilgrims attacked and massacred the descendents of the Indians present at the harvest meal - the ones who helped them survive the New World! The women and children who escaped death were sold into slavery in Cuba and Hispanola. Many Indians view our Thanksgiving as a celebration of genocide. (for more details, look up King Philips War).
So for the last 15 years we haven't celebrated Thanksgiving with everyone else. We didn't even eat turkey during November. We did volunteer to feed people, and trade shifts at work so others could enjoy the holiday with family. But we didn't celebrate. While I understood his viewpoint - it is simply wrong to celebrate genocide - I missed the holiday, the family gathering, the meal, everything (except the football - I watch that anyway).
This year a member of the church who has suffered some real trials recently said she wanted to invite us for Thanksgiving dinner but knew that The Husband didn't celebrate. I told him about the invitation - and he said yes! Let's go.
Why? I dunno. Maybe compassion for the member? At any rate, this will be the first time in 15 years that I get to celebrate this holiday with family and turkey and semi-public prayers of gratitude. And for that, I am so grateful!
Happy Thanksgiving all!