Today as families and friends come together to eat and watch football, I hope we’ll also remember what giving thanks means. G. K. Chesteron once said that gratitude is the mother of all virtues. In other words, remembering all we’ve been given compels us to right living, especially as we relate to others.
That’s what drove the Pilgrims to hold the first Thanksgiving. Gratefulness. For survival. But some historians suggest that first gathering was nothing more than a Harvest Feast, a common occurrence from Europe that the Pilgrims were mere imitating. Therefore, they say, it really wasn’t a religious gathering at all but a secular one.
But that’s misunderstanding the Pilgrim’s worldview. Sure, they played games and sang non-religious songs, but a separation between secular and sacred is in our minds, not theirs. To the secularist, religion is a set of activities. For the Pilgrims, it was the way they saw the world itself.
Plus the very concept of thankfulness implies there's something vertical in life, not just horizontal. If we're going to be thankful in life, we have to have someone to thank.