Thursday, November 25, 2010

thinking of thanksgiving

I don't know why I hadn't heard much about, or maybe just payed little attention to, the presidents' attitudes and involvements with the holiday of Thanksgiving in all my previous years. I mean, sure we all know the story of the pilgrims and the many renditions of the "First" Thanksgiving, and in the presidential realm we've all seen a president or two "pardon" a turkey or two.
But I never really thought about the fact that from George Washington, to Barack Obama, each have had a proclamation and a decree on Thanksgiving. I've found it interesting this year that I'm seeming to read and hear more about past presidents and their attitudes toward this often overlooked holiday. Okay, not overlooked in the sense of celebrating with a big dinner, but overlooked in the meaning and the sentiment and the real occasion behind it.
It seems often that Turkey Day is one of the more secular holidays. People don't get caught up in any religion of it like Easter or Christmas with who believes what and what the correct terminology is and should we boycott stores that won't use the word Christmas Thanksgiving, etc, etc, etc.

But actually, paying attention to the history of this country?
Thanksgiving is not supposed to be just a day of "giving thanks" in general terms. It wasn't supposed to be a day of just an all around attitude of gratitude or of simply letting other people know you're thankful for them. And I certainly don't think it was supposed to just be a day of -a whole weekend of- mindless consuming; see how much food we can consume, sitting around filling our bellies, lazily watching football all day and/or planning out some shopping, feeling pressure to spend the whole next day again consuming, retailwise.

In actuality, Thanksgiving started out as a very religious holiday.
Thanksgiving was meant to be a day of thanks and praise to God.

"The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.
...These are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in justice for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that these things should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens."
-Abraham Lincoln (emphasis mine)

I'm envious of a time when a president could speak those words. When a president believed those words. When it was expected that a country, as a unified people, were expected to recognize that all the blessings in our world are from God.
When it was declared that Thanksgiving be a day of thanks for not only those blessings, but of thanksgiving to God.

As I thought on this and looked over what more and more presidents had to say at Thanksgiving, I was afraid that as the generations have gone on, as the government and the country in general have "evolved", I was afraid that as a nation we had succeeded in removing God altogether from this National holiday.
But I am glad He at least got a mention in Obama's proclamation this year:

"As Americans gather for the time-honored Thanksgiving Day meal, let us rejoice in the abundance that graces our tables, in the simple gifts that mark our days, in the loved ones who enrich our lives, and in the gifts of a gracious God.
... by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 25, 2010, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all the people of the United States to come together -- whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place of fellowship for friends and neighbors -- to give thanks for all we have received in the past year, to express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and to share our bounty with others."
-Barack Obama

What are you thanking God for today?

I am so, so, and more so as the years go on, thankful for being healthy. All of us in this house are so healthy and as I watch so many families around us deal with illness after illness; colds, flus, infections and such, I am so thankful that we don't deal with that. I'm thankful that my kids, more often than not, go the whole time between yearly check-ups without even seeing a doctor. I'm thankful that if someone in our house does get a little cold or stomachache or sore throat that it ends with just that one person and we don't pass it all around the house. I'm thankful that we have good health insurance for the rare times we do need a dr. visit or medicine. I'm thankful that our family hasn't had any or been directly affected by any cancers. I'm thankful that we have been healthy and happy and safe thus far as a family.

I am thankful for an amazing husband. He honestly is so much more than I ever dreamed of in a husband. I'm thankful that we met when we did, and that we knew from the get-go that this was it and that we've had this amazing marriage. I'm thankful that he married me. I honestly cannot begin to even count the things I'm thankful for in him. He's my best friend and he loves me -and our kids- so well.

And the kids. What can I possibly say that even begins to explain the full heart I have because of my two kids? They are everything that's good about this life. How I ended up with such beautiful, crazy smart, fun-loving little people is beyond me. They are perfect and I can't imagine life without them.

I am thankful for the home we're living in. I'm thankful that God gave us this home... that it was at just the right time and in just the right way and that it's fitting us so well. I'm thankful that we have the space and the means to entertain and to be hospitable... that we have extra beds we can fill and plates we can share.

I am thankful for our new car. As petty as it may sound, I'm thankful for the luxury of a new(er) vehicle. Sure it's still six years old, but I've been in an older vehicle for so long that each and every time I drive the newer one, I feel fortunate and pampered... that it runs smooth and rides smooth, that the air conditioning and heat work, that we have so much room when we need it (fitting nine people in this past weekend to drive around town was awesome)... and the heated seats don't hurt either. I'm thankful for the luxury of a new (to us) car.

I am thankful for our schools. Coming from such a great school district, one of the top-rated schools in our old neighborhood and absolutely loving our first two years of school experience there... and then hearing not so great things about Nashville Public Schools, I didn't have really high expectations coming in here. But I'm so happy to be able to say we have been nothing but impressed and pleased with the elementary school we ended up in. It's been fabulous and Savannah is absolutely thriving there. Also the preschool we placed Sawyer in... absolutely love it. I am so thankful for the opportunity our kids have to learn and love in these environments.

And above all, I am thankful that I have freedom and salvation in Christ. I am thankful that I am able to acknowledge freely that God is the giver of all that I have... that he gifts us the sunrise each morning (which was beautiful today, by the way) and the sunsets each evening. That he gives us people to love and to make our lives rich. That he wants to give us the things our hearts desire. That I can have a relationship with him. I'm thankful for the heart and the spirit in me that allow me to know and appreciate that I would have nothing --that I would BE nothing-- without Him.

What are you thanking God for today??


Mom said...

Thank you Heather, for sharing this heartfelt post. It is hard for me to put into words all that I am thankful for. God has been so faithful and I am feeling very blessed indeed.XOXOX

Mom said...

PS. You owe us a "skype",missed seeing you.;0)XOX

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