In 1789, the United States Congress and President George Washington found gratitude to be so important that they were compelled 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:" (You can read the entire proclamation here.)
Notice that there was no mention of Pilgrims, no Native Americans, no football, no shopping, no turkey and stuffing.
A day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors...
As I was driving home this evening (I braved the stores with my two younger children to put together the pieces of an awesome surprise for my oldest baby!), I was struck by how truly fortunate my life is. I definitely have been blessed by many and "signal" favors. (In case you don't know, as I didn't, "signal" used this way is defined as "distinguished or conspicuous.)
No Pollyanna, just the acknowledgment that I have so much to be grateful for. Truly. My heart overflows with gratitude for the embarrassment of riches that surround me. I feel blessed to have a wonderful husband who has spent more than 20 years doing his very best to provide for me and our children. I have been blessed with a husband who has a job he loves and that allows him to provide well for us. Yes, he's overseas and, yes, I miss him, but we're not dealing with the instability caused by job loss or underemployment. For this year, at least, our home is secure and our income is stable and for that I am grateful. I am healthy and Superman is healthy and we have three healthy, able-bodied, intelligent, and, in my humble opinion, amazing children. They are a source of unending joy in my life, even as they push me and stretch me in ways I could never have imagined.
My list of blessings goes from the profound to the mundane...and I am reminding myself to be grateful for them all. These are just a few of the little blessings I've been thinking about:
Central Heat (!)
4 Wheel Drive
The Dishwasher and the Washing Machine and Dryer
The Computer I'm Sitting in Front of to Type This Post
My Local Library
The Amazing People I've Met Because of Blogging
The Turkey and Pumpkin Pie in my Refrigerator Ready for Tomorrow
The fact that my brother and his wife are living their dream and bought their first house in October.
The fact that my sister got the job she wanted and is enjoying this new time in her life.
There you have it...a few of the things that I'm grateful for this year. This is not a complete list. Not even close. I have been blessed by more than I can even express and I am so grateful for those blessings.
Why don't you give it a try? Shed the stress of Thanksgiving preparation and Christmas shopping and focus instead on feelings of gratitude for the many and signal blessings in your life. After all, our forefathers thought taking time to acknowledge and be grateful for our blessings was important enough to set aside one day a year for all of us to do just that.
From our home to yours...
may gratitude fill your heart and the blessings of the season abound.