Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. - Psalm 95:2 (NLT)
I sit here at my computer tonight, listening to the rain falling outside my window. I'm still full from roasted turkey and lots of carbs: cornbread dressing (my mom's recipe); green bean casserole (doesn't really count as a vegetable, but my kids love it); jellied cranberry (an homage to my dad); and, of course, small slices of pumpkin and pecan pie.
It was just four of us ... me, Tom, and two of the kids, since the oldest and his wife are exploring New Zealand. A white tablecloth covered my table, with a silver and gold runner. No fancy or creative centerpiece, but I set the table with silver chargers and my wedding china (Noritake Shenandoah, which I still absolutely adore) and sipped wine from my wedding crystal, which most of the time sits gathering dust in my china cabinet.
It was the first time the four of us had sat down to eat at the same time in a very long while. We are all too busy these days, home at odd hours and living mostly on frozen pizza.
After dinner, we called Tom's mom , then piled into the car to visit Mama and watch a few episodes of "The Facts of Life" with her. Knowing she would be full from her own Thanksgiving dinner (they have great food at her nursing home!) I only brought her a little bit of the cornbread dressing, hoping for her stamp of approval... which she gave before gobbling it up. Whew!
That's already enough to be grateful for , but there's so much more. Lately, when I find myself veering off into a 'poor me' whine, I've tried to redirect it into some kind of "thank you". It usually isn't too hard!
However, even though I give thanks often, I think a national holiday specifically dedicated to giving thanks for our blessings, motivating us to pull the special china out of the closet and spend hours in the kitchen trying to re-create our mother's cornbread dressing and sitting down with our family for the first time in months... or to gather with others to fill plates with turkey and dressing for those who don't have a home, much less a china cabinet, as friends of mine did today.
I was reminded this morning at Mass that I have George Washington to thank for giving us this national holiday of Thanksgiving. Thank you, George!
For his homily, our priest read us the original proclamation, which I don't think I had ever heard before. In case you haven't either, or if it's been awhile since you have, I decided to find it online and share it here...
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; 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 favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable 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 the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
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 trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
From our home to yours... Happy Thanksgiving!
Dear Lord; we beg but one boon more:
Peace in the hearts of all men living,
peace in the whole world this Thanksgiving.