A Thankful thought

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Thanksgiving. That one word says it all. It's a wonderful, cherished idea, but it took a while to get to where it is today. I think there's pretty common agreement with the historical facts of the original Pilgrim/Indian celebration in 1621. President George Washington in 1789 suggested that we observe a day of prayer and thanksgiving, and President Lincoln proclaimed it so in 1863 as the nation was at war with itself. Surprisingly, (or maybe not) there was a long period of disagreement between the United States House of Representatives and the Senate, about how and when to have Thanksgiving. Two thirds of the country celebrated in early November and one third in late November. Finally, Congress reached a compromise, and on December 26, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a resolution declaring that “a day of thanksgiving shall be established as a national holiday and celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November each year”. So, it only took 152 years to get the details worked out. Sound familiar? Actually, it sort of begs the question, “Do we really need the government to remind us to be thankful?” Well, we would hope not, but we won't get too deep into that right now. Suffice it to say that Thanksgiving now is probably one of the least political and most loved holidays of all the holidays we have. Its motives are simple and pure, and it draws on the language of our collective national heart and soul to celebrate the simple warmth of gratitude for everything that gives meaning to our lives. Thanksgiving doesn’t require all the trappings of other holidays. You don’t have to bring presents, you just need to stop and give a little serious thought to what you believe and what you have to be thankful for, like those people sitting around the table with you and that special meal that someone has prepared, hoping you would be there. No matter what your story or struggle may be, even if things have not turned out at all like you had hoped, the truth is we are astonishingly fortunate and blessed to be living in this land where you alone can choose your faith and your future. So take a moment and just recite to yourself all the reasons that you have to be thankful. Get comfortable before you start, because you will probably be there a while. But after all that, if there is still some emptiness there, just remember that the memories of Thanksgiving will always be there to remind us of what really counts in this life, and the promise of Thanksgiving will continue to be the promise of hope for the future that has always sustained this land since 1621. Whether it’s the simple laughter of a child, the artistry of a glorious sunset, the gift of a smile, or just the satisfaction that comes from helping without reward, we have so many reasons to be thankful each and every day of this life. I hope this Thursday is a day of peace, reflection, and abundant thankfulness for you and all those around you. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

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