THANKSGIVING

Thanksgiving. The giving of thanks. It is is a simple term until one takes time to reflect on the meaning of the words.
In the America of today there is confusion and confliction about the term. This was not always the case. Until quite recently the giving of thanks was seen as more than a right, it was a duty. To whom thanks was given was also clearly understood.
On October 3, 1789, President George Washington issued this proclamation.”Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almight God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor…Now therefore, I do recommend…that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interposition’s of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed…And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions…to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue.”
Abraham Lincoln, during a time of national crisis, expanded on this with his proclamation of 1863. “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied, enriched and strengthened us: and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray tot he God that made us. It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins, and to pray clemency and forgiveness upon us.”
I am not preaching or condemning. I am merely providing a bit of historical context and a few thoughts for mediation during the Thanksgiving holiday.
However, I would be remiss if a public proclamation of my blessings was not shared. Any list of blessings would have to begin with my wife of 27 years, my dearest friend. Without her love, her gentle support and encouragement, it is doubtful if I would have ever written more than weekly column for the local paper.
My son, my grandchildren are also manifestations of blessings in my life. Likewise with my father and mother. All have been a source of aggravation and concern at various times but I am grateful for those times as well.
My recent Saturday spent with Jay Leno is an amazing blessing that began with a fellow breaking down in Kingman. When one considers the fact that just over thirty years ago I was homeless and living on the street, the series of events leading to this point is even more amazing.
None of this is to say we have not endured many trials and tribulations this past year. There have been financial and employment issues. I have been dealing with cancer, broken, teeth, issues with aging parents, and the loss of several very good friends.
Still, I am blessed. I have much to be thankful for. I have made many new friends this year, have had some of the most amazing adventures, and have been overwhelmed by the opportunities that are beginning to manifest.
I would also be remiss if a public proclamation was not given to all who have contributed so much of their time and resources this year. Thank you Laurel Kane, Joe Sonderman, Mark Ward, Dan Rice, Chris Durkin, Dries Bessels, Dale Butel, Bob Lile, and the countless others that have enabled me to transform ideas into books.
As noted previously, I am not here to preach this morning. Nor am I here to offer condemnation. However, I feel led to respectively ask you give thought about the concept and meaning of Thanksgiving this holiday.
It is my sincere hope that each and everyone of you will be richly blessed this holiday season and in the year to come.