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It is therefore recommended. . . to set apart Thursday the eighteenth day of December next, for solemn thanksgiving and praise, that with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor.

Samuel Adams
November 1, 1777 (adopted by the 13 states
as the first official Thanksgiving Proclamation)
  

Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest people; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.

E.P. Powell

      
For, after all, put it as we may to ourselves, we are all of us from birth to death guests at a table which we did not spread.  The sun, the earth, love, friends, our very breath are parts of the banquet.... Shall we think of the day as a chance to come nearer to our Host, and to find out something of Him who has fed us so long?

Rebecca Harding Davis
  
When we sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, I will be grateful that a turkey gave its life--however unwillingly or ignorantly--so that we might eat and thus stay alive.  I'll be thankful to the people who raised the turkeys, who grew the corn, who canned the cranberry sauce, who grew the wheat from which the dinner rolls are made.

tom walsh
   

We have so much, yet many Americans feel dissatisfied.  Somehow the full table, symbol of abundance to the pilgrims, is not enough.  We yearn for something far beyond the material satisfaction.  Find your place in history this Thanksgiving by stretching beyond your table.  Celebrate your survival by offering peace and sharing with your neighbors.  Make the shift from in illogical feeling of lack to the recognition of abundance.  Invite the Spirit to your feast, and prepare to feed the world.

Jennifer James

  

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest
appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

  

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.

W.J. Cameron

   

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Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest person
it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.

Edward Sandford Martin

  

Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the celebration of work
and the simple life. . . a true folk-festival that speaks the
poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seedtime and
harvest, the ripe product of the year--and the deep, deep
connection of all these things with God.

Ray Stannard Baker

  

On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence.

William Jennings Bryan

  

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.
No Americans have been more impoverished than these who,
nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.

H.U. Westermayer

  

  
It is the duty of nations as well as of people to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord.

We know that by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world. May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.

But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father Who dwelleth in the heavens.


Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation, October 3, 1863
   

How wonderful it would be if we could help our children and grandchildren
to learn thanksgiving at an early age.  Thanksgiving opens the doors.
It changes a child's personality.  A child is resentful, negative—or thankful.
Thankful children want to give, they radiate happiness, they draw people.

John Marks Templeton

  

We celebrate Thanksgiving along with the rest of America,
maybe in different ways and for different reasons.  Despite
everything that's happened to us since we fed the Pilgrims,
we still have our language, our culture, our distinct social
system.  Even in a nuclear age, we still have a tribal people.


Wilma Mankiller, principal chief of the Cherokee nation

  

The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart
sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find,
in every hour, some heavenly blessings!


Henry Ward Beecher

  
   
The more I focused on lack and on what I couldn’t have, the more depressed I became.
The more depressed I became, the more I focused on lack.  My soul whispered that
what I really yearned for was not financial security but financial serenity.
I was still—quiet enough to listen.  At that moment I acknowledged the deep longing in my heart.
What I hungered for was an inner peace that the world could not take away.  I asked for help
and committed to following wheresoever Spirit would lead me.  For the first time in my life
I discarded my five-year goals and became a seeker, a pilgrim, a sojourner.
     When I surrendered my desire for security and sought serenity instead, I looked at my life
with open eyes.  I saw that I had much for which to be grateful.  I felt humbled by my riches
and regretted that I took for granted the abundance that already existed in my life.
How could I expect more from the universe when I didn’t appreciate what I already had?

Sarah Ban Breathnach
   

Be grateful simply for being alive.  When you are grateful for life, pure
and simple, your life becomes one you can be grateful for.  That may
strike you as circular or even backward logic, but your attitude really
does have an effect on how things work out.  When you can’t change
your life any other way, you can still change your attitude.  When
you do, your life changes.  You find more chances to love, and you
will be surprised to see how much more love is returned to you.

Bernie Siegel

  

Thanksgiving reminds us that no matter what befalls us in life, we can
take the charred remnants and we can reconstruct a life unimaginably
richer than that from which the shards and pieces fell.

Craig D. Lounsbrough

   
  

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Gratitude consists in a watchful, minute attention to the particulars of our state,
and to the multitude of God’s gifts, taken one by one.  It fills us with a consciousness
that God loves and cares for us, even to the least event and smallest need of life.
It is a blessed thought that from our childhood God has been laying his fatherly hands upon us,
and always in benediction, and that even the strokes of his hands are blessings,
and among the chiefest we have ever received.

Henry Edward Manning
 

Whatever our individual troubles and challenges may be, it’s important to
pause every now and then to appreciate all that we have, on every level.
We need to literally “count our blessings,” give thanks for them, allow
ourselves to enjoy them, and relish the experience
of prosperity we already have.

Shakti Gawain

  

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use
them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.

W.T. Purkiser

  
  
The private and personal blessings we enjoy, the blessings
of immunity, safeguard, liberty, and integrity,
deserve the thanksgiving of a whole life.

Jeremy Taylor
   

I remember taking a little time in each year to think about my life and make
a long list of the people and things I was grateful for.  Thanksgiving for me
really was a time of being thankful.  I think it is great for people of all ages
to celebrate the day with good people, good food, and football, but I hope in
the midst of our busy lives we have not forgotten the importance of observing
the real reason for the holiday:  to give thanks.

Matthias Reightman

   
My Thanksgiving (excerpt)
Don Henley

. . . Now the trouble with you and me, my friend
Is the trouble with this nation
Too many blessings, too little appreciation
And I know that kind of notion--well, it just ain't cool
So send me back to Sunday school
Because I'm tired of waiting for reason to arrive
It's too long we've been living
These unexamined lives

I've got great expectations
I've got family and friends
I've got satisfying work
I've got a back that bends
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving. . . .

Here in this fragmented world, I still believe
In learning how to give love, and how to receive it
And I would not be among those who abuse this privilege
Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge

And I don't mind saying that I still love it all
I wallowed in the springtime
Now I'm welcoming the fall
For every moment of joy
Every hour of fear
For every winding road that brought me here
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving

For everyone who helped me start
And for everything that broke my heart
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving.
  

   

   
   
We remember the Pilgrims on Thanksgiving Day, not so much for their
turkey dinner, but for the sheer faith that inspired them to give thanks in
a year that saw nearly half their number die of sickness.
Yet they prayed with thanksgiving.

Ralph F. Wilson
    

That which we bless multiplies.  This is an inescapable spiritual law of
the universe.  The one who chooses the spiritual pathway to success
and happiness must be willing to shift from an attitude of lack to one
of thanksgiving in order to take the first step.

Jim Munson

   







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Giving Thanks
Joanne Shenandoah, Jake Swamp

In respect to our home the Earth, we say thank you
To the Earth for everything that she gives to us
Nourishing us every day
We give thanks to all the water in the world
Everything within that water
We give thanks to all the grass that lives on the land
We give thanks to all the berries, the fruits, the medicines
We give thanks to the animals that keep the forest clean
We give thanks to all the trees for the different uses that they give to us
For shelters, fires that we make in the winter time, keeping us warm
We give thanks to the birds who sing their beautiful songs
We give thanks to the four winds
We give thanks to the grandfathers, the ones that bring the rain
And we give thanks to our oldest brother the sun,
Who shines his light every day

We give thanks to our oldest grandmother the Moon
For she is the one that has been charged with the duty
To make sure that life has a continuance
She is the one that watches over all the movements of the water
And also the water within us
We give thanks to the stars, her helpers
And we give a special thanksgiving to the four sacred beings
That watch over the human family
Sometimes we notice them when we are traveling in dangerous places
They are the ones that come to our minds and say,
"Go around, don't go any further."
So that's why they are there, to protect us, to steer us away from danger

So that's what we do, we start right from the earth,
And we climb a ladder right to the special place beyond the heavens
Where there's a special Spirit that lives
A spirit that made it possible for us to be here
And everything that lives here
And so with the collectiveness of our mind and hearts,
We send a special thanksgiving and greeting to the Great Spirit of us all
   

From Joanne Shenandoah's
2003 album, Covenant.

   
I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. . . 
O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on
my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.

Henry David Thoreau
   

Thanksgiving comes to us out of the prehistoric dimness, universal to all
ages and all faiths.  At whatever straws we must grasp, there is
always a time for gratitude and new beginnings.

J. Robert Moskin

  

We give thanks often with a tearful, doubtful voice, for our spiritual mercies
positive, but what an almost infinite field there is for mercies negative!  We
cannot even imagine all that God has allowed us not to do, not to be.

Frances Ridley Havergal

  



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