Thanksgiving – An Attitude of the Heart
What are you thankful for? Your home, your job, your family, your health? Those are all things to be thankful for. Are you thankful for your family Thanksgiving traditions? Do you gather around the table with extended family on this day of giving thanks? Do you have turkey and all the fixin’s?
As I get older, my family shrinks and now it’s just my husband and me for Thanksgiving. He’s going to help a friend with a 5K race in the morning. We’ll be together, and we’re going out – depending on the weather. Last year, we helped serve at a community Thanksgiving meal, because we’d talked about doing that for a couple of years, but we waited until after my father-in-law passed. Last year was our first Thanksgiving without any family close by, so we did that. This year, we’re doing something different.
In my life, I’ve been a part of Thanksgiving celebrations of different sizes. When I was a child, I’d be a part of a family dinner for, at most, eight people. We were a family of four (mom, dad, my brother, and me), getting together with grandparents and maybe even a couple of my dad’s cousins. Those were great times, though. My grandmother and my mom would generally take turns with Thanksgiving. There was usually only our immediate family and my dad’s parents. Nana would make dinner one year, my mom the next. After dinner, my dad would usually take a nap. It was an affair that took most of the day. It was wonderful.
A couple hours after dinner, we’d have dessert. Then, we’d play games. We played marbles, Rummy, Rook, and Canasta. My dad made the marble board out of a piece of plywood, drilling each of the holes to make the playing field the shape of a diamond, plus our “starting” place and “home” places, in the board himself. He then stained and lacquered the board. After a while, it eventually showed some wear and tear (we played a lot), but I’ll never forget those times.
Eventually, usually after dark, we’d have a light supper (picking from the leftovers from dinner), then we’d pile ourselves and even more leftovers in the car and go home. My grandparents lived in the same town. It only took us about ten minutes to drive to their house from ours.
I looked up the origins of our Thanksgiving holiday. Traditionally, we think it was the pilgrims. They had a hand in it. They and other colonials gave thanks for the harvest when it came in. But it was President Abraham Lincoln who made it a national holiday.
On October 3, 1863, at the height of the Civil War, President Lincoln set aside the last Thursday in November as a national day of thanks. Lincoln acknowledged the ravages of war but also the blessings. In his proclamation, he said: (copied from Wikipedia)
“Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and 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. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”
This Thanksgiving day, I’m thankful for a lot of things. I’m thankful for family, health, and work. But I’m most thankful to the God who created me and saved me. I’m thankful just to be here and to see what my life will count for. I’m at an age where most people begin to slow down and think of retirement. Not me. I feel I’m just getting started.
So, I’m thankful, today, for my life, my memories, my history, my family, my God. It’s an attitude of the heart. What are you thankful for? Leave a comment and let me know.