The holiday season is upon us again. As many prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, I thought it was important to remember the history of the holiday and the value in taking time to appreciate our blessings.

In Sept. 1620, 102 passengers left England aboard the Mayflower ship to seek a new home where they could openly practice their faith. After landing in America, they barely survived the first brutally cold winter.

In March 1621, the colonists were visited by two Native Americans from two nearby tribes, both of whom spoke English. One of those men, Squanto, was a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been sold into slavery in England before eventually finding his way back home. Squanto taught the Pilgrims to grow food and catch fish in the unfamiliar environment.

 In Nov. 1621, the Pilgrims celebrated their first successful corn harvest by inviting a group of their Native American allies to a celebratory feast. The first Thanksgiving lasted three days! Two years later, the Pilgrims held a second Thanksgiving feast to celebrate the end of a drought that nearly destroyed their crops.

Celebrating a day of thanksgiving became common practice in other New England settlements as well, but they weren’t celebrated nationwide until President Abraham Lincoln declared a day of thanksgiving in the midst of the Civil War. He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and in 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt designated Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday in November.

Ever since the first Thanksgiving, the holiday has united Americans from all backgrounds around the dinner table. This year, unique challenges face us as we consider what our holiday plans look like during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In such uncertain times, we are all the more grateful for the love and support of our families and friends and the freedoms we are privileged to enjoy as Americans. We have ample reason to be thankful.

I wanted to share one of my favorite Bible verses that I know has helped me through this year and I hope that it will help you as well. Philippians 4: 6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

We are blessed to live in a country where we can worship without fear of persecution and where the American dream isn’t hindered by oppressive bureaucratic controls. We are thankful to be surrounded by friends and family we hold dear and perhaps appreciate even more after the hardships we’ve endured this year.

Unfortunately, there are many across the world who are not so lucky and face daily challenges that we do not. Despite the political, racial and economic tensions we are facing this year, I hope we can use this holiday as time to give thanks for our many blessings and spend time with our loved ones.

It’s truly an honor and privilege to represent you at the State Capitol and happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours! God bless.

 

Rep. Brad Boles represents District 51 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes Grady, McClain and Stephens Counties. To contact him, call (405) 557-7405 or email brad.boles@okhouse.gov. 

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