Can We Still Celebrate With Thanksgiving?

November 3, 2017

By Rev Paul N. Papas II

October 31, 2017

 

 

We are heading into the holiday season with the busiest travel day of the year, Thanksgiving. Certainly we are a long way from the original time and spirit of the first great feast enjoyed by the Pilgrims and Indians who were native to the land.

The Indians helped the Pilgrims survive and get through the tough first few years. They worked together and learned from each other. The Pilgrims would have starved if the Indians had not taught the Pilgrims how to plant, fish, and hunt in the new land.

Once the first bountiful harvest was completed a celebration of thanksgiving began. Two different cultures had worked through some tough days and were rejoicing together.

True, the Pilgrims and Indians dressed differently however they were similar in that they had family as a base unit.  They were also similar in their worship. Pilgrims worshiped our Creator God and the Indians worshiped the Great Spirit. There are several parallels with what the Pilgrims and Indians worship. It is not a great leap for Indians to become Christians.

In later years the Indians did not fare as well in the land they once dominated. Had the same spirit of cooperation that existed at the first Thanksgiving been maintained many tragedies would have been averted.  That is our history for good, bad, or indifferent.

Everybody has a history. No matter how much you fret about your history you can not change it. Those who dwell in the past risk losing sight of the future and miss its Blessings.  Living in the regrets can be awful depressing.

Part of healing from depression, anxiety and PTSD is getting past yesterday. It would be helpful to get up out of the chair, walk over to the door, turn the knob and open the door, cross the threshold, walk out of yesterday, close the door on yesterday and step into the future.  Now you can celebrate freedom from the past with thanksgiving.

There are many reasons to celebrate with thanksgiving; the birth of child, a new job, a new home or even just another day above the grass.

Perhaps taking a fresh look at your circumstances could give you reasons to celebrate with thanksgiving.

Perhaps volunteering to serve at a Thanksgiving Dinner hosted by one of many organizations could give you reasons to celebrate with thanksgiving.

Helping someone helps change your focus and can give you reasons to celebrate with thanksgiving.

One person at a time we can get back to the spirit of the first Thanksgiving and I’d be happy to meet you there…What are you waiting for?

 

Reverend Paul N. Papas II is a Pastoral Counselor with Narrow Path Ministries (MA and AZ) and Founder of the Family Renewal Center (AZ)

www.narrowpathministries.org and www.familyrenewalcenteraz.org

 

 


The Tale Of Two Meals

December 4, 2015

thanksgiving
By Rev Paul N. Papas II
December 1, 2015

Same table, different times, and multiple conversations were giving thanks? Each culture and each generation has their own style of communicating with each other, other generations and other cultures.

The table has been stretched with its leaves to seat the maximum number of family members and some guests. The spare chairs touched each other around the table. Four generations came together this day from near and far to share, give thanks and overeat.

Looking around the table there are the grandparents who heard first hand accounts of the Great Depression from their parents. The youngest will be starting school in the fall. The two generations in between grew up in markedly different times. One grew up when radio was king and TV was in its infancy, the other with 24/7 TV and a variety of TV stations.

If the older two generations have a Smartphone issue they just hand it to one of the younger two generations for a few moments and there you go, all fixed.

The older two generations have the same concerns about and for their children and grandchildren as their parents and grandparents had for them about them and their future. What would the world look like and how would they do.

I don’t think George Washington’s parents had a clue that little George would lead an Army in a Revolution never mind be a new country’s First President.

Oftentimes parents dream that their toddler would become president, partly because we live in a country where it is possible for any American child to become president.

I remember when the fax machine first came out; it only took about 45 minutes for one page to be transmitted to another fax machine at the other end of the phone line.

At the table there are various dings and other sounds produced by a text or email that just arrived. No one shut off their phones at the Thanksgiving meal, maybe they will remember for the Christmas meal.

The picture of this group did not look like a Norman Rockwell painting it looked more like a selection of people from any day at the mall. It was a relaxed atmosphere with mixture of colors and clothing styles. The one with the body piercing reminded the older generation of how some dressed to be different in the 60s, same message of independence just a different time.

Political views vary as much as they do across the country. Sometimes the older generations wondered what they did wrong to sire such diverse views. Needless to say some discussions were lively. None the less this was a time to give thanks and show their gratitude for what they have and for each other.

The Thanksgiving meal was a little early by some standards but some had to the make the visiting schedule at hospital locked ward, others at the prison. No one in the family was to be forgotten or left alone on this day just because they fell on hard times.

For some it has been days or months since they visited other family and guests around the table so there is plenty of crosstalk. As good hosts the guests are included in various conversations. For some guests this is their introduction to the family.

The turkey carver has just been presented the tools of his trade and all eyes shift to the bird. It is now quiet enough to hear a few stomachs make there readiness to be filled known.

Before eating all join hands to offer up the bounty as a Blessing and give a prayer of gratitude, thanksgiving and praise.

Ding, at least the text waited until after the Amen.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Reverend Paul N. Papas II is a Pastoral Counselor with Narrow Path Ministries (MA and AZ) and Founder of the Family Renewal Center (AZ) http://www.narrowpathministries.org and http://www.familyrenewalcenteraz.org

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