Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankgiving Decree

The New York Times noted the tradition of Thanksgiving Proclamations by politicians in American history.  These are still made today.  I have been moved by the Presidential decrees proclaiming national days of Thanksgiving in the past (particularly by Lincoln and one of Franklin Roosevelt's decrees). 

I hadn't really been aware that state governors also issued such proclamations, and found myself moved by the lofty one issued by the Governor of Connecticut in the midst of the Great Depression.  He was a retired Yale professor, incidentally, which makes me glad such men enter public service:

Time out of mind at this turn of the seasons when the hardy oak leaves rustle in the wind and the frost gives a tang to the air and the dusk falls early and the friendly evenings lengthen under the heel of Orion, it has seemed good to our people to join together in praising the Creator and Preserver, who has brought us by a way that we did not know to the end of another year. In observance of this custom, I appoint Thursday, the twenty-sixth of November, as a day of  Public Thanksgiving for the blessings that have been our common lot and have placed our beloved State with the favored regions of earth -- for all the creature comforts: the yield of the soil that has fed us and the richer yield from labor of every kind that has sustained our lives -- and for all those things, as dear as breath to the body, that quicken man's faith in his manhood, that nourish and strengthen his spirit to do the great work still before him: for the brotherly word and act; for honor held above price; for steadfast courage and zeal in the long, long search after truth; for liberty and for justice freely granted by each to his fellow and so as freely enjoyed; and for the crowning glory and mercy of peace upon our land; -- that we may humbly take heart of these blessings as we gather once again with solemn and festive rites to keep our Harvest Home.

A bit more significant than flirting with gluttony and a having an intense focus on sales in the shops, eh?  I found Wilbur Cross's statement most encouraging.  

When I pray with the children at night, we pray the Lord's Prayer, then for concerns of the day.  And we try to have most of it giving thanks, always including a standard statement, "Thank you, Jesus, for loving [Number One Son, etc]".  That is the great reason to be thankful, that our Creator not only made the world, nor even that as Preserver he continues to sustain life, but that we can relate to him personally through his Son.  Astonishing.  Puts even the poetic notions of the beauty of the stars into perspective.  

A recent photo from the Hubble Space Telescope encourages reflection on Psalm 8:3-4

3When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
   the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him?

So, yesterday's turkey, mince pie (and pumpkin...), autumn squash vegetable dishes and so forth -- all evidence of God's care.  And a pointer, to the greater provision by God, which brings us to Advent Season this Sunday...