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Thanksgiving: 2015 (revisited)

Even though "Thanksgiving" is considered by many people to be an "American tradition", the fact is, that long before formal religions were established, and as far back as history has been recorded, nearly every nation, tribe, and race, Chinese, Romans, Hebrews, Greeks, Egyptians, Druids, Celtics and many, many more have celebrated the successful harvesting of their crops which up to modern times, has been the basis for most thanksgiving observances.

And depending upon the location and customs, every conceivable symbol has been used to enhance the celebration; dolls, masks, dances and foods of every description up to and including today's parades and wall to wall "football watching". And for the past half century, here in America at least, it also kicks off the official "mad rush" of the Christmas shopping season, although every year Christmas reminders and decorations appear earlier and earlier.

As we sit down to our thanksgiving feasts this year, there is, on the surface, little resemblance to those thanksgivings of long ago as it has expanded far beyond the original concepts of being appreciative of a bountiful harvest. Yet when you get past the sometimes shallow flag waving, the bumper stickers and the obvious commercial application of "God Bless America" signs, past all the parades, huge family meals and the prominence of Santa in all the malls, it is still a holiday that encourages us to step back and give thanks for all the blessings we have.

For within each of us resides the feelings, memories and thoughts of every moment we have ever lived. Childhood memories, family traditions, rituals of past holidays, all exert a strong influence on us. We will never forget the tragic events of 9/11, the beginning to the war on terrorism, the ongoing tragedies that are playing themselves out in such far flung places in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and the most recent threat to our homeland. As well as the ongoing environmental concerns and the destructive weather patterns. More people today than ever before, will place greater emphasis on things other than the material ones, which are at best, superficial.

That there are an ever increasing number of things for which we can be thankful for, not the least of them being a sincere, renewed interest and an outpouring of expressions of love for God, Country and Family, which in part defines the real meaning and significance of the day.

Happy Thanksgiving!