Friday, November 23, 2012

My View

Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon...

Thanksgiving Day has come and gone with copious amounts of food consumed and an orgy of shopping has begun. For many of us, we have spent time with family and now the focus shifts to shopping and preparing for Christmas. The hum of daily life now turns into a roar as we shop and spend.

The beauty of Thanksgiving is that it calls all of us to focus, even for a brief time, not on "things", but on what we really deem to be important, the aspects of our life for which we should be thankful. Family, health, and daily provision move to the forefront.

Those transcendent blessings are often drowned out by daily life, by the choices we make and the demands forced upon us. We often bemoan the pace of life which crowds out a sense of peace and thankfulness.

Although our times are hectic, one of the most tumultuous times in the history of our nation was the Civil War. In the midst of this ferocious internecine strife, Abraham Lincoln issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation that calls to us today to remember the transcendence of the blessings that the nation enjoyed in that difficult time. That proclamation speaks to us today.

Here it is in its entirety:

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.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.


Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well as the iron and coal as of our 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 battlefield, 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 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 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 imposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

As we move back into the rhythm of our daily lives, we are faced once again with struggles, political strife, and financial challenges. The call of Thanksgiving is to remember that despite these challenges, we are a blessed people. We have blessings that are bigger than daily life and its struggles.

May this time of Thanksgiving be a time of thankfulness that continues throughout the year.

And that, my friends, is my view.

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