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The Date of Thanksgiving 2011


Thanksgiving is observed on the fourth Thursday in November. As a convenience, we've looked that up for the next several years:

2011: Thu, Nov 24
2012: Thu, Nov 22
2013: Thu, Nov 28

Incidentally, President Franklin Roosevelt tried to change the date of Thanksgiving to the third Thursday in November, in part to extend the holiday shopping season by one week and give a boost to the economy during the Great Depression. There was huge public protest. Some referrred to the newly positioned Thanksgiving Day as "Franksgiving." Roosevelt's decision was quickly politicized, with some people in some states celebrating the holiday as the "Republican Thanksgiving" on the fourth Thursday in 1939, and others celebrating the "Democratic Thanksgiving" on the third Thursday.

The FDR Presidential Library has some interesting documentation on the controversy, including letters of outrage and protest recieved by the White House.

Having resolved the question of when Thanksgiving will be celebrated this year, let's take a deeper look at the meaning of this holiday:

Thanksgiving: Mirror Unto The Soul of a Nation
"A nation divided cannot stand," said Abraham Lincoln, paraphrasing Scripture. But with a bit of luck, some ordinary patience and understanding, and a touch of grace, it can. Here's how.

Thanksgiving: To Whom, For What?
A day of prayer, self-congratulations, or what? When the act of counting one's blessings becomes the habit of counting upon one's blessings. And what the holiday really means.

The Essence of Thanksgiving
A visitor to America from outer space in late November might conclude that we worship the turkey goddess. So what is the deeper meaning of this holiday, with its sometimes conflicting themes?

Thanksgiving Prayers


Charles Henderson

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The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and Executive Director of
  CrossCurrents.
He is the author of God and Science (John Knox Press, 1986).  
A revised and expanded version of the book is appearing here.
God and Science (Hypertext Edition, 2005).
He is also editor of a new book, featuring articles by world class scientists and theologians, and illustrating the leading views on the relationship between science and religion:
Faith, Science and the Future (CrossCurrents Press, 2007).

Charles also tracks the boundry between the virtual and the real at his blog: Next World Design, focusing on the mediation of art, science and spirituality in the metaverse.  

For more information about Charles Henderson.
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