With the arrival of Thanksgiving day, everyone turns their attention to Abraham Lincoln and the proclamation that made this into a national holiday. My love and respect for Lincoln has been well-established here, but thanks to some online research, I found a Thanksgiving story that pre-dates Lincoln. And it has a lesson for our times, as well.
The first American Thanksgiving, as we know the United States to be, happened as the result of a proclamation made by the Continental Congress on November 1, 1777, roughly a year and a half after the Declaration of Independence was signed. The Revolutionary war was going on, and Washington and his troops were at Valley Forge that winter. So we’re talking a long time ago.
Since the link provided above is a web page, I couldn’t copy and paste the text as I wanted to. But it’s a very good read, and the bulk of it appears on the page shown above. It’s well worth a read, for anyone who is so inclined.
But the best part, to me, is the final paragraph that appears at the bottom of the page. And I am going to type that out, because I think it’s very important in the face of all the Thanksgiving day sales that are going to be happening at shopping centers near you and me.
“And it is further recommended, that servile labour, and such recreation as, thought other times innocent, may be unbecoming the purpose of this Appointment, be omitted on so solemn an occasion.”
Do you get that, Walmart? Target? Kmart? Heck, I’ll even throw Starbucks into that mix, too. Any business that wants to open its door on Thanksgiving day, in order to make a buck, would be considered “unbecoming” to the men who risked their lives to found this nation. But the un-becomingness doesn’t stop there, either.
Everyone who goes out for the Thanksgiving day sales and “doorbuster” prices is also engaging in behavior that the founding fathers would consider unbecoming. I’ll go so far as to say it’s UnAmerican to take what should be a solemn day of remembrance and turn it into a shopping spree. The materialist and consumerist culture wants to make it seem otherwise, but the source material says it’s so.
Shop on Thanksgiving, or work on Thanksgiving, if you must, but understand that there’s some very old–and very wise–reasons not to.