Happy thanksgiving!

By Enid Westerlund Samuelu 26 November 2023, 12:00PM

Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated on various dates in October and November in the United States, Canada, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Liberia, and unofficially in countries like Brazil, Germany and the Philippines. It celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Americans generally believe that their Thanksgiving is modelled on a 1621 harvest feast shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people.

Thanksgiving is all about reflecting on blessings and acknowledging gratitude. President George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation, "Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favour".

Why do Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving? There are different factors. First, William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth in 1621, wrote that wild turkeys were part of the original meal that was shared between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians. As Thanksgiving became a more prominent celebration, turkeys continued to be plentiful, which made them a convenient main course.

Thanksgiving is not really celebrated in Samoa. Every day should be Thanksgiving day. If we can open our eyes the next morning, have running water, health, a car that takes us to work, and a job that supports our families and fa'alavelave then we have fewer complaints and much to be thankful for. In current events, no other nation is bombing us, killing our babies in our sleep, destroying our hospital or shooting at us daily. There is much to be grateful for.

Today let us be thankful, practicing radical empathy. Let us accept things as they are, not as we wish them to be. Just do our best. It's already a fantastic day. Everything will work out as it should. Serve the best meal every day, no matter how simple. It's going to be delicious and well-received. We are not going to change anyone's mind or behaviour today, and that's all right, too. Put an ashtray out on the porch for Uncle Junior. Change is not what today is about.

We need to understand that the journey is an important process. It matters to God what we become on the way to where we are going, following him in obedience through many unknowns, trials, and difficulties is an integral and indispensable part of our preparation. God uses the journey to teach us faith, refine our character, and equip us for greater challenges that lie ahead (UCB devotional).

In fact, if we are in the process of seeking God's will right now, we are already fulfilling part of it in our lives. Don't make the mistake of thinking that because we don't know all we'd like to, we're not making progress. Something is happening right now. Our faith is being stretched, our patience is being developed, our doubts are being confronted and conquered, and our relationship with God is growing deeper. He always prepares us in advance for what he has planned ahead for us. 

Yes, the struggle is uncomfortable but it's a necessary part of the process. Do not allow what you are presently going through to hinder your life in any way. Remain thankful and prayerful. This is not always easy when we are going through extremely challenging and faith-testing trials. Happy Thanksgiving Samoa!

• Enid Westerlund Samuelu is an aviation specialist, business consultant and author and loves to share stories and write children’s books.

By Enid Westerlund Samuelu 26 November 2023, 12:00PM
Samoa Observer

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