As its prayerful name announces,
Thanksgiving Day involves the bending of knees. To whom, after all,
would celebrants give thanks if not to “Him”?Residents of Plymouth in the Massachusetts colony, headed by Gov.
William Bradford, initiated the tradition in 1621, at least according to
the conventional account. Historians have questioned whether Plymouth
really was the site of the first Thanksgiving, whether the date is
accurate, and whether early colonial events were not more akin to
carnivals with feasts than holy days with formal services. Regardless of
when, where or how they did so, the grateful didn’t thank goodness or
luck; they thanked God.
Maybe this is just from my own experiences, but I have no problem with
Thanksgiving and I've never seen in it as a religious holiday. I've
always seen it as a celebration of religious freedom (which of course
includes the freedom from it), and in my family it's always been
celebrated as a sort of mini-family-reunion. Over the past several
years, I've spent Thanksgiving with my wife's family, her sister and
brother-in-law both being non-theist as well, and her parents are
Anglican or some other protestant sect. There's never been any
pre-dinner prayer thanking any invisible sky-daddies. We've always had a
good time, outside of any family drama.