This year in the US Thanksgiving Day falls on the same day as the beginning of Hanukkah. Co-incidence or is this something meaningful for us globally to understand? In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly, but not universally, traced to a poorly documented 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. Pilgrims and Puritans who began emigrating from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to New England. Several days of Thanksgiving were held in early New England history that have been identified as the “First Thanksgiving”, including Pilgrim holidays in Plymouth in 1621 and 1623, and a Puritan holiday in Boston in 1631. According to historian Jeremy Bangs, director of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, the Pilgrims may have been influenced by watching the annual services of Thanksgiving for the relief of the siege of Leiden in 1574, while they were staying in Leiden. In later years, religious thanksgiving services were declared by civil leaders such as Governor Bradford, who planned a thanksgiving celebration and fast in 1623. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s.
Thanksgiving proclamations were made mostly by church leaders in New England up until 1682, and then by both state and church leaders until after the American Revolution. During the revolutionary period, political influences affected the issuance of Thanksgiving proclamations. Various proclamations were made by royal governors, John Hancock, General George Washington, and the Continental Congress, each giving thanks to God for events favorable to their causes. As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.
Hanukkah traces its history to the ancient Jewish historian Flavius Josephus who narrates in his book Jewish Antiquities XII, how the victorious Judas Maccabeus ordered lavish yearly eight-day festivities after rededicating the Temple in Jerusalem that had been profaned by Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Josephus does not say the festival was called Hannukkah but rather the “Festival of Lights”:
“Now Judas celebrated the festival of the restoration of the sacrifices of the temple for eight days, and omitted no sort of pleasures thereon; but he feasted them upon very rich and splendid sacrifices; and he honored God, and delighted them by hymns and psalms. Nay, they were so very glad at the revival of their customs, when, after a long time of intermission, they unexpectedly had regained the freedom of their worship, that they made it a law for their posterity, that they should keep a festival, on account of the restoration of their temple worship, for eight days. And from that time to this we celebrate this festival, and call it Lights. I suppose the reason was, because this liberty beyond our hopes appeared to us; and that thence was the name given to that festival. Judas also rebuilt the walls round about the city, and reared towers of great height against the incursions of enemies, and set guards therein. He also fortified the city Bethsura, that it might serve as a citadel against any distresses that might come from our enemies
This all points to how important and significant it is to have a sense of gratitude in one’s life. It really doesn’t matter your religion for the emotion of gratitude is a spiritual energy that releases intent into the universe and the universe responds accordingly. Even scientists have evidence of this universal law of attraction.
If you are aware – or at least interested in having the awareness – of how perfectly the Divine supports your sovereign reality, there is a powerful and natural sense of gratitude that flows from you to the Divine. It is this wellspring of gratitude that opens the channel of support from the Divine to the individual and establishes a collaboration of purpose to transform the individual soul into a pure expression of divine essence. It is principally gratitude that opens you to connection and alignment with your divine essence.
When you project gratitude, regardless of circumstance or condition, life becomes increasingly supportive. This feeling of gratitude coupled with the mental concept of appreciation is expressed like an invisible message in all directions and at all times. Gratitude is an essential facet of love that opens you to redefine your purpose as a supportive extension of the Divine, rather than the whimsical outreach of fate or the exacting reaction of a mechanical, detached universe. Establishing a relationship with the universe through the outflow of gratitude also attracts life experience that is deeply transformative – experience that is richly devoted to uncovering life’s deepest meaning and most formative purpose.
When you choose to align with divine essence and to live from this perspective as part of an ever-unfolding reality, you attract a natural state of harmony. This does not mean that your life is without problems or discomforts; rather it signifies a perception that there is an integral purpose in what life reveals. Life experience becomes meaningful to the extent that you choose to live in natural harmony with divine essence. When your personal reality flows in alignment with divine essence, you create lasting joy and inner peace.
It is the perspective of divine essence that all life is pure love in its fullest expression, and that in this single concept, all life is conceived and forever exists. This becomes the core belief from which all other beliefs arise. And as these beliefs expand outward, this core belief system emerges with a clear intent of supporting a fundamental perspective of seeing, nurturing, and appreciating the universe as the divine cradle from which all life is created and evolves.
These life principles are merely symbols represented in words and served to you as a potential recipe to stir awake the embers of light that tirelessly burn within. There are no specific techniques or rituals that are required to invoke their power. They are simply perspectives. In a real sense, they are intentions that attract experience that expands consciousness. They do not provide quick fixes or instant realizations. They are amplifiers of personal will and intention that clarify how one lives. Their profound transformative power is contained exclusively in the intent of their application.
Through these principles of transformation, you can become a master of empowering your deeper self. When you apply these principles with clear intent, you have the tools to accelerate the emergence of divine essence. You can awaken the perspective, insights, and empowered abilities of your divine essence to create new realms of possibility and shape them as learning adventures that expand and transform your consciousness. This is the underlying purpose of these principles, and perhaps the best reason to explore them.
So we wish you all wherever you are on this spinning blue globe that you can find a sense of gratitude on this day. For some we know that may be very difficult given your circumstances, but we are collectively, more and more, praying that no one should live in fear and conflict. Join us in those thoughts and one way is to be in a state of gratitude. We can do this.