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It's unclear if on that first Thanksgiving, the colonists and Native Americans ate turkey at their feast. More likely, they indulged in other interesting foods like lobster, and seal. What is certain is that a tradition developed that called for the U.S. President to declare Thanksgiving as a holiday anew each year, until Thomas Jefferson refused. He strongly believed in the separation of church and state. Thanksgiving involved prayer, and in his opinion, making it a holiday would violate the 1st Amendment. Fortunately, we no longer need a presidential announcement for Americans to observe Thanksgiving this year. It might well get lost in politics and pandemics. Hopefully, we will remember to pray a prayer of blessing, for even in these difficult times, we need to bless the Lord – for family, for food, for friends, for health, for memories. Thanks, and Thanksgiving go together. William Bradford, the first Governor of the Plymouth Colony, wrote of those first pilgrims, “Being thus arrived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean.” In the midst of yet another “furious” time, a COVID Thanksgiving, let us remember the words of the Psalmist, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:1-2).

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