Thanksgiving, a Time of Reflection and Hope
This year has been one of many challenges, changes and even some opportunities. There are many aspects that we have all struggled with in 2020. But we have come to that point in our year where we prepare to give thanks and ponder on all that for which we are grateful. I think back many centuries to a time when those pilgrims landed on the shores of North America, in an area they called Plymouth, and what they, must have been thinking about this “new world”. For these Pilgrims, it was not only a struggle to get to this new world and try to endure a land that was not familiar but a land where they found themselves true strangers, immigrants on foreign soil. They quickly had to learn to communicate with those who had been living here for centuries and ultimately found themselves, as many immigrants even today, needing assistance to learn the environments that they found themselves in in the early 1600s.
In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag people shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
Thanksgiving today may vary between traditional practices of families and communities across this nation, however, it is still a time not just for a dinner and football, but a time for us to reflect on what we are truly thankful about. Whether it is our families, our health and happiness, or just to be together with love one and share the spirit of togetherness and simple pleasures. We have much to be thankful for and on this holiday as we celebrate these gifts with one another.
This Thanksgiving, in many cases, will be slightly different this year as we continue to battle a pandemic that has gripped this nation and the world since the beginning of 2020. This year while we may not be able to be together as we would in years past, we can still celebrate our thankfulness in different ways and give thanks to the idea that we are grateful for the opportunity to still be together in each other’s hearts and spirits even while miles apart.
My wish to you is that you will remember those we have lost and celebrate their lives and the contributions those who have moved on, or as the Native Americans often say, moved camps, and to be thankful for that time we had to share with them while we were able to be together.
This Thanksgiving may consist of a smaller gathering at your table, using technology to visit with family in other locations and maybe even on other shores. But one thing holds true, we can be thankful that we have each other and that the true meaning of Thanksgiving can still stand as a testament of perseverance and communion of giving thanks of one another. This is a time to rest, and soothe our weary minds of a hard year and look forward to the next with hopes of being together with family and friends.
I am thankful for all of the individuals who work at MCTC, those that have come to learn and prepare for their next life chapters as well as those who continue to support in the mission of this college. Remember as members of our college and community, that we are all in this together and together we can prevail and make our world a better place. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families, and may this Thanksgiving, though in many ways different, continue to offer you a time of reflection for what you have to be grateful.