Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Reflections at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is an exclamation point in the year. This holiday is bittersweet in our home today. There are empty places at the table. The past few years some loved ones were called to heaven by God.

Other absences are more voluntary in nature. Divorce separates not just the couple going their separate ways- it leaves its sad shadow on all who loved them, both as individuals, and the two as one, joined in sacrament.

Still, we celebrate. Despite complications in the family, there is so much to be grateful for. Today we will feast with the family of our dear neighbor, Dennis. A man who after 29 and 1/2 years of loyally serving his company, was laid off last week.

When faced with adversity there are two choices. Wallow or get up and get going. The latter is always healthier.
We have had far more good fortune than otherwise. We can choose to make tragedies valuable learning lessons- keeping us from leading thankless lives.

Words matter. Reading the Thanksgiving Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln-the wisdom of why our Founding Fathers only spoke of separation of church and state is revealed. They never said Faith and State should be at arms distance.
Faith and State holding hands helps great things be accomplished.

Thanksgiving Proclamation

The year that is drawing towards 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 cannot 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 theatre of military conflict; while that theatre 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 defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has 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 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. 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, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State
Flag is being carried horseback by my late father-in-law, Kenneth A. Plunk.
Edda Gahm (mother) and Robyn Green (daughter) of the late Coberly Neal.
Tile cross is in center courtyard of Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church and School, Diamond Bar.
Stained Glass Windows are part of the Unitarian Church, Riverside, California, collection.
The Army Review photograph of the Civil War was taken by Matthew Brady and is part of the National Archives.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful and inspiring post. You made the meaning of Thanksgiving come alive and were totally awe-inspiring. Keep up the good work, Lydia. Love, Lolly

Anonymous said...

As Always........ Excellent Issue !!