Monday, November 20, 2006

Thanksgiving Thoughts

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!

12 comments:

1-4 Grace said...

wow. Thanks so much for sharing. It really makes me think more about the holiday. I hope you and your husband enjoy your time with this lady and can help make this easier for her.
It is difficult, but sometimes we have to place our own personal convictions behind the needs of others. We don't forget about them or let them go, we just shuffle thigns around a bit. God bless your husband.

rev maria said...

Thanks Grace. I can't tell you how amazed I am at his acceptance of this invitation - or how grateful the member is that we will be with her on what could have been a very sad day. The Husband is a constant blessing in my life - and can even still surprise me.

Gannet Girl said...

De-lurking to say thanks for visiting, I'm glad to have discovered your blog, and I hope that this real Thanksgiving Day celebration is a joyous one for both of you.

Songbird said...

I hope this will be a time of healing for all involved. Thanks for this story.

cheesehead said...

I hope this is a great day for boh you and your husband,

Anonymous said...

My eyes are opened too. It never once crossed my mind how Thanksgiving might be offensive to anyone. Whatever the tradition, it is good to say thank you to our creator. It is also good to de-lurk(o)

the reverend mommy said...

Wow is right. You gave me a lot to think about.
I actually would love to hear more. I would think that there have been other times and places that our not-mutual and yet both HERE cultures clash.
DeLurking, officially.
(o)

the reverend mommy said...

You also have stirred up some thoughts/emotions/feelings I have related to the 1830's removal of the Cherokee. The pain is still there for many. I wonder sometimes if it ever will heal?
Prayers.

Mary Beth said...

That is great. I hope y'all have a great time. And peaceful.

Blessings and happy Delurkey!

1-4 Grace said...

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Left a comment under dress-up.

see-through faith said...

Praise God!

Thanks for your comment on my blog. And for your prayers.

Robert said...

thanks so much for sharing this history!! Your husband shows Christs humilkity and servant heart in accepting the invitation. God bless you all as you enjoy thanks together!!!