In the United States, the Thanksgiving holiday can be traced back to the Pilgrims arrival at Plymouth in 1621. After a successful harvest, they held a feast with the Wampanoag Tribe, who helped them survive their first winter in the new world. On October 3, 1863, 242 years later, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that the last Thursday in November would be a national day of thanks. From then on, each president declared the final Thursday of each month Thanksgiving until 1941, when Congress passed a joint resolution placing Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November every year from that point forward.
Today, Thanksgiving reminds us that everyone has many different things to be thankful for, and everyone celebrates the holiday in different ways. Here's how a few members of the Azusa Pacific community plan on spending their holiday:
Trevor Fulkerson ’11 of San Diego is thankful for the blessings God has given him this past year. “I am always thankful for my overall health, as well as the health of my family. I am also incredibly grateful to be able to live in this country, and all of the opportunities that go with that,” said Fulkerson. “My family celebrates Thanksgiving by having everyone over to the house and enjoying a ton of great food, and of course, some football. This year I will be going home, as usual, and celebrating Thanksgiving with my family. It is also my grandpa's 90th birthday, so we will be having a big party for him as well. I'm excited to be able to see the extended family that I haven't seen in a while, and celebrate such great events.”
Michelle Martinez, office manager in the Office of Ministry and Service, is ready to celebrate with her family. “I am thankful for my family and being able to provide for them,” said Martinez. “I celebrate Thanksgiving by gathering with both sides of my family and enjoying lots of food while spending quality time with them. Before we eat, we go around the table and say what we are thankful for. This time reminds us to take that moment and count our blessings. It has become one of our Thanksgiving traditions.”
Sasha Stone ’13 of Glendora is really looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. “I'm thankful for a lot of things. God has given me so many blessings,” said Stone. “I'm thankful to have a job, for the ability to go to school, and for people in my life who are supportive of me. I'm thankful that God constantly reminds me that He is by my side and watching over me. I’m celebrating this Thanksgiving with my family. We join around a large table and all contribute something to the meal. Each year, a different person is chosen to pray over us and the meal.”
Andrea Walters ’11 of Chino is thankful for who God has placed in her life. “I am thankful for my relationship with my boyfriend. Every day I learn something new and exciting about him,” said Walters. “I generally spend Thanksgiving with my family and friends and enjoy an amazing home cooked meal. Unfortunately I will be working this year, but my mom, sister and I will have a little family dinner of our own on Friday night with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, fried green beans, cranberry sauce, and rolls...yummy!”
Daniel Whallon ’11 of Rancho Palos Verdes is thankful for the grace God has given him this year. “I am thankful for life, a wonderful family, and everything I don't deserve, especially God's grace," said Whallon. “My family all meets at my parents’ house and we give thanks to God and celebrate in a traditional way, with a lot of food.”
These are just a few examples of how APU students and staff celebrate Thanksgiving. No matter what the traditions are, being thankful for the blessings God has given remains constant. Enjoy this Thanksgiving holiday and take time to remember all that God has provided.