In Praise of Thanksgiving

Via:  Vic Eldred  •  9 months ago  •  12 comments


In Praise of Thanksgiving
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 unequalled magnitude and...

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J ohn Adams  thought that his Thanksgiving proclamation cost him reelection. Or at least that’s what he told Benjamin Rush in an 1812 letter. During his term in office, Adams had asked that Americans mark Thursday April 25 “as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer.” He wanted the American people to give thanks to God for “the countless favors which He is still continuing to the people of the United States, and which render their condition as a nation eminently happy when compared with the lot of others.”

You might be thinking: Why would this mark him for electoral disaster? Presidents now announce their forthcoming attempts to subvert Congress with a pen and a phone, or join the nation to semi-treaties, or declare war with a Declaration of War. Why in the world would the use of the 18th-century presidential bully-quill be such a misstep?

Well . . . it made him look like a Presbyterian. Adams said that Presbyterians had “allarmed and alienated Quakers, Anabaptists, Mennonists, Moravians, Sweedenborgians, Methodist, Catholicks, Protestant Episcopalians, Arians Socinians, Arminians . . .” and that “a general Suspicion prevailed that the Presbyterian Church . . . aimed at an Establishment as a National Church.” All that fasting and thanksgiving on a marked day. Mighty suspicious. Then as now, high and mighty New Englanders telling the country what to do could end up provoking the wrath of the public.

Americans no longer pair the day of thanks with solemn fasting. Quite the opposite. Thanksgiving traditions now include posting videos of your turkey  “Moistmaker” sandwiche s  to Instagram.
But we still give thanks. And I’m thankful for all the giving of thanks. “When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude,” said G. K. Chesterton, the notably rotund journalist and non-Presbyterian.

In this season of life, Thanksgiving seems to come in a rush. The Daylight Savings freaks have pushed their clock-fiddling past Halloween. And so we’re only just accustomed to the darkness of evening.

In my neighborhood, the trees unburden almost half their leaves in one great drop at the end of November. The brilliant color of fall is just stripped away. The riot of fall’s oranges, siennas, and flaxen melts into nothing. And I begin my attempt to hold back the colors and sounds of Christmas that are bursting out of our local Target.

Every year, I’m grateful for my mother, who shuffled off the mortal coil almost a decade ago. She took over the laborious Thanksgiving meal from her mother in the last decade of her life, and I learned to make a delicious roast turkey from her. I try to go to the same massive Stew Leonard’s in Danbury, Conn., where she bought the large, thick stalks of rosemary she used. If we want leftover turkey, we have to cook more of it than a family can possibly eat in one night. I wish she could see what I’m doing with turkey stock in the lead-up to the big day.

And this year, I’ll be grateful for my extended family, and how we all eventually figured out how to support each other through the uncertainties and insanities of pandemic life.

I’ve figured out that there is a particular moment when all the gratitude usually rushes in on me. The actual hustle of the holiday tends to crowd out anything like Adams’s “solemnity.” Until, at some point in the evening, or late at night, I have to take the dog out for a walk. I usually go without a jacket. But it is there, in the stillness of the cold and dark, that I grow overwhelmed with the superabundance of blessings in this life. All the natural comforts of spring and summer have been stripped away. And yet, the belly and heart are full. This simple ritual of being with your people for a feast, at the start of a long weekend, is a foretaste of heaven itself. Even if you’re a Presbyterian Sweedenborgian or a Catholick like me: Savor it.


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Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Vic Eldred    9 months ago

The man in the White House pretended to be a unifier. His mentor wasn't a unifier. The nation may be bitterly divided, but tomorrow is one of the things that unifies. It is a national holiday based upon giving thanks and a family get-together. This is the meaning of "out of many there is one." It crosses over race, ethnicity and religion. We are Americans doing the same thing tomorrow.

So, in that spirit: To all NT members have a good Thanksgiving.

Senior Guide
1.1  XXJefferson51  replied to  Vic Eldred @1    9 months ago

Amen!  Thanksgiving is a national day that we all come together to thank God for the great blessings He’s bestowed upon us all as an exceptional nation, for our friends and families, for our individual blessings.  It is a beautiful day.  Thank you God for all that we have as a nation and individually.  May He continue to bless one and all abundantly.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

Just Jim NC TttH
PhD Principal
2  Just Jim NC TttH    9 months ago

Thanks for posting this Vic. After my April of this year, I am just thankful I am still here to celebrate with friends and family. It has truly been a trying time but without those around me and the watchful eye of physicians empowered to be able to educate themselves in medicine by the God given intelligence, I made it. My family is very important to me and even though I may not get to be with all of them whether alive or passed on, they are always the most important thing to me. They are my strength and I am so thankful and lucky to have them all.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!!

Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3  seeder  Vic Eldred    9 months ago

Maybe our gender studies majors could teach this to our children:


Sophomore Silent
4  JaneDoe    9 months ago

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. May your Turkey be moist and may the wine flow freely.

Be thankful for all you have.

Professor Expert
6  Kathleen    9 months ago

Have a nice Thanksgiving everyone!

Enjoy all the food and being with your family and friends.

PhD Guide
7  Drakkonis    9 months ago

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Remember to be thankful, especially all the little ways we are blessed but never even notice. 

Junior Participates
8  GregTx    9 months ago

I hope all the members and moderators here at Newstalkers have a Happy Thanksgiving........

Junior Participates
8.1  GregTx  replied to  GregTx @8    9 months ago

Even you Tess 😉

Just Jim NC TttH
PhD Principal
8.1.1  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  GregTx @8.1    9 months ago


Senior Guide
8.1.2  XXJefferson51  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @8.1.1    9 months ago

With God, all things are possible!  

Professor Guide
9  Sunshine    9 months ago

Enjoy your Thanksgiving everyone and have a wonderful day!


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