|National Day of Mourning, New England.|
I have been teaching my Sunday School class all about Thanksgiving and other cultures' similar holidays. Many religions and cultures have similar days of gratitude. I taught them about Purim and Harvest Home/Mabon last week. I also taught them about how Indigenous Americans see this holiday and showed them footage of The American Indian Movement occupying Alcatraz Island. I told them of participating in the National Day of Mourning in Massachusetts when I lived there.
In teaching them about today, I leaned something myself:
While there was a harvest festival in 1621 (that had pilgrim immigrants from Europe and native Mashpee and Wampanoag people in attendance), the holiday started being celebrated on the 4th day in November when Abraham Lincoln called for a "National Day of Thanksgiving" after the Civil War ended. We have not been celebrating this day, in perpetuity, since the days of the pilgrims as we are led to believe. It was made a legal holiday in 1941 on the 4th Thursday in November. So the official, secular holiday has its roots steeped in war and a longing for peace.
I also worked with the kids on cultivating a gratitude practice. I talked about how when you are feeling bitter or resentful about something, a gratitude practice is the best fix to make yourself feel better. I had them list 5 things that they were grateful for, in that moment. It was telling that they had a hard time with the exercise. Most of us are our of practice when it comes to being thankful and expressing our gratitude. We take things for granted.
This holiday, I am grateful for many things. My top 5 are:
1. My son- who makes me laugh every day and gives me a great sense of purpose.
2. Supportive and loving family in this time of transition.
3. The basics that I should never take for granted: shelter, food, clean water, and love.
4. That my partner has found a job and is working hard for our family.
5. A wonderful life plan and goals before me.
What about you? What are your top 5?