The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrim Colony of Plymouth Plantation in 1623. In a proclamation celebrating the first Thanksgiving, Gov. William Bradford stated, “All ye Pilgrims with your wives and little ones, do gather at the Meeting House, on the hill… there to listen to the pastor, and render Thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all His blessings.”
Today, the blessing of Thanksgiving has been lost in a sea of gross materialism. Americans now see Thanksgiving as the official kick off of the crazed shopping binge that December has become. In the last couple of years merchants have started encroaching on Thanksgiving Day in an effort to beat their competitors to the start line. The “Thanksgiving” start to the “Christmas” shopping rush is one example where we Americans have traded what was meant for good for that which satisfies self. We’ve exchanged looking to God and thanking Him for His blessings, to a growing dissatisfaction because of what we don’t posses.
While many would argue that America’s material abundance is a sign of its success, others see America’s absorption with “stuff” as a sign of a weakening culture. As Os Guiness notes in The American Hour, “Americans with a purely secular view of life have too much to live with and too little to live for. Everything is permitted and nothing is important.” –Chris Eller