Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“The time has come once again to proclaim a day of thanksgiving, an occasion for Americans to express gratitude to their God and their country. In his remarks at Gettysburg, President Lincoln referred to ours as a Nation ‘under God.’…
We can unite in gratitude for our individual freedoms and individual faiths. We can be united in gratitude for our Nation’s gracious gifts of the Most High God.”
President Ronald Reagan—Thanksgiving Day Proclamation,
September 15, 1983
Lynda left yesterday before I returned from Louisville. She and my daughter-in-law and two precious granddaughters drove to Highlands to await Nathan and my arrival, with our two dogs. Amy’s parents were also on their way.
The note she left for me to read upon my return said this:
“I’ve missed you! I can’t wait for you, Na and the dogs to get up there with us! Remember what happy times await us at Thanksgiving and how much it means to our children to have us all there. XOXO”
It’s the way Lynda feels three-hundred and sixty-five days a year. And she makes sure to remind anyone who will listen—especially at this particular time of year—of the thankfulness and smiles we should hold in our hearts every day for all our blessings. She has taught me and our children, family, and friends so much through the years about what is truly important.
And as she pointed out Thanksgiving—that most distinctive of American holidays—is here again. A time where we pause to remember our roots from all those who have gone before us from coast to coast and border to border in this great land. It’s a time to give thanks to all those upon whose shoulders we now stand and must look back with grateful hearts and are able to look forward with hope.
A time to pause, reflect and give thanks. A time of gratefulness and reflection upon the past, of embracing the blessings of the present, and the lifting of praises for the faithful guidance of God through all of the circumstances that have made up our lives. Thanksgiving is a time where the simple tends to become the magnificent, while all we thought to be important fades into the background. It’s a time to remember America and our roots, and who we were as we began as a country, and who we need to be again—individually and as a nation.
From the annals of our country’s rich heritage this announcement by William Bradford, Governor of the Plymouth Colony, made 387 years ago in 1623 has been preserved to help us remember who we are and where we came from, and is offered to help us rekindle the spark of gratitude in our lives…
“Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundance of Indian corn, wheat, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and…He has protected us…has spared us…has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now, I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye pilgrims, with your wives and little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the daytime, on Thursday, November…29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three…to render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.”
It took people with a deep faith in God to withstand the hardships of those early days as they began to carve out this great land and lay the roots of the heritage we enjoy today. The glory, power and significance of that first Thanksgiving is not because it came out of prosperity, but because it came out of adversity. And in that adversity our ancestors dared to thank God, not for what He would do for them in the future—but for what He had already done for them in the midst of all of their adversity. I wonder if we realize that.
Thanksgiving should move us to an attitude of gratitude, like it moved those who have gone before us, for all the blessings from God we enjoy. It should move us to an attitude of gratitude, not for what He will do, but for what He has already done for us—despite whatever our current circumstances might be. It’s a time for holding close family and friends, a time of reflection upon those blessings of the past, the present and the overarching faithfulness of God. It’s a time where the simple things come into clearer focus—like notes from dear loved ones, safe journeys, maybe even some turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, even, and a warm gathering around a table of family and friends—so that everything of lesser importance fades into insignificance.
And perhaps most importantly, Thanksgiving is a time to turn our heads upward, to look beyond this world and remember our beginnings, and with a true spirit of humility and an attitude of gratitude, remember the One, our Creator from whom all blessings flow.
Indeed, Lynda, these are and should be happy times—for there is much for which we should be thankful.
Thank you for the reminder today and every day.
Happy Thanksgiving to you, and to all of our dear family and friends.
In His Name—Scott