Thursday, November 1, 2012


November - 30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 1

"Oh, Lord, who lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness." 
-- William Shakespeare

I love that picture.  I remember it from my childhood.  I think most people have seen it.  Beautiful, isn't it?

And so begins the Month of November.  It's everyone's month to remember to offer thanks.  The actual institution of our Thanksgiving Holiday informally began with the Pilgrims.  Since America has been a nation, the establishment of a Thanksgiving Holiday has been attributed to several of our founding fathers, but George Washington was the first president to declare the holiday, in 1789.  It was Abraham Lincoln who set the date, the last Thursday in November, as an official day of thanksgiving to God.  Later, President Franklin Roosevelt moved it forward a week to help a struggling economy by extending the Christmas shopping season.  There it remains to this day.  That's the history of it.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving comes at the time of year when the real labor of the season is finished.  The rewards for the past year's hard work had been realized.  All the backbreaking planting in the spring, slogging through mud, protecting new plants from the elements, and the daily grind of summer, the tedium of daily care and maintenance, and finally the fast paced, long hours and hard work of harvest had paid off.  Preserves were on the shelf and produce in the cellar.  The tools should already be sharp, clean and stowed, and the grounds tended and tidy with only the finishing touches needing to be seen to.  It is the time that we see the harvest, the bounty, and the presence of the blessing of the Lord on our efforts.  It is time to thank the God of increase for His marvelous blessings. 

It is our personal traditions that make it my favorite holiday.  Unlike so many other holidays, there is nothing over-hyped about Thanksgiving, especially at our house.  All that is required around here is eating good food and enjoying good fellowship.  No gift exchanges, no fancy dressing up, no weird costumes, no hurry, no fuss, just pure ol' comfort.  To me, it is sort of a party to celebrate and enjoy fall, cool weather, colorful nature and the restful time of year. It is warm, cozy, inviting time.  The colors are soft and the shadows are long and there's a feeling on the wind that only comes in the fall.  

It is a time to enjoy home and indoors.  It is time to take inventory and look to the next season's adventure.  It is time to mend and tend the things that were brushed aside in the business of the seasons spent busy out of doors.  It is a time to plan and dream.  These are close, warm, happy times with family.  These are quality times.  

Home is our own private sanctuary and a safe place together.   It is a place of fireplaces and tea pots, and bread in the oven for the soup on the stove.  We are what we need to be here.  We can be seen, we can talk or not, and we are always the best.  To quote Garrison Keillor, home is "where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."  At home, we are at liberty to make each other feel that way and we are allowed to believe it is true here.  I love it.  I love my family.  I love my home.  I love fall.  It's a breathtaking, tear-jerking, wonderful time of memory making and reminiscing.

Does it sound like I have marginalized God this Thanksgiving with all this talk of food and seasons and celebration?  Hardly!  It is like this: I believe in thanksliving.  I cultivate gratitude in my life.  It is a simple task, really since I am so keenly aware of my precious Gift, where I would be without Him, and I know I am so unable to ever repay any of it.   

Thankfulness is my only means of returning anything of any worth back to Him and my aim is to remain in a constant state of gratitude, so help me God.  If I am not thankful for the other eleven months of the year, the other three-hundred and sixty-four days, then I can not even enter His gates.  I would not want to live like that.  I want and pray for a "heart replete with thankfulness" always.  It is my obligation and my duty and my strongest desire.

This November, the month of Thanksgiving as set before us by our founders, I will try to be faithful enough at this blog to come on here and give thanks for something specific, some blessing in my life, every day for thirty days.  This is my first one:  I am thankful for home.

Robert Southey said, "There is a magic in that little world, home; it is a mystic circle that surrounds comforts and virtues never known beyond it's hallowed limits."  Home.  I'm thankful for home.

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