[Missouri-l] Faith, Thankfulness, and Dreams
paltschul at centurytel.net
Thu Nov 26 09:31:04 CST 2009
Faith, Thankfulness and Dreams
Jackie Gingrich Cushman
Thursday, November 26, 2009
We know the story of the first Thanksgiving almost 400 years
ago, of the
pilgrims and the Indians coming together and sharing their food
bountiful harvest. The first "official" Thanksgiving, however,
just 210 years ago today. President George Washington's first
proclamation designated the 26th day of November to be set aside
"It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of
Almighty God and
to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to
protection and favor," he wrote.
Washington did not ask the nation's citizens to demand more
from God or to
question why the Revolutionary War had lasted eight years, nor to
reflect on the
damage that occurred during the war. Instead, he asked the
nation to be grateful
and to ask for God's protection and favor.
Maybe we should follow Washington's lead once more.
This year has been particularly hard for many people. Many
have lost jobs (more
than 10 percent of our nation is unemployed); some have lost
their homes. While
these losses are tragic and hard to overcome, they can be.
If these losses are viewed as specific and temporary, then in
two decades, they
might be seen as large bumps and bobbles in the road rather than
determining the trajectory and the final destination of lives.
Alternatively, people might interpret their current woes as
overcome and decide that they have come to a dead end. This
belief will stifle
people's ability to dream.
Hard times cannot be the times to falter and lose our dreams.
We are a nation founded on a belief in God. As the Declaration
states: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men
equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Our understanding of our place in the world begins with our
faith in God provides us with optimism -- belief in a brighter
future and an
understanding of our importance in the context of the wider,
of life. This faith is key to understanding American
exceptionalism and American
Our thankfulness may help us believe a promising future awaits.
After more than a year of economic trials and troubles, we can
see hints of
better days ahead, a transition from shock and hopelessness to
gratitude for what we do have.
Our faith in a Creator supports our nation's optimism In a
time, after the Union victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg,
Lincoln declared a day of Thanksgiving. His proclamation in 1863
"the gracious gifts of the Most High God." Lincoln invited his
to set apart and observe "a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our
Father who dwelleth in the Heavens."
Lincoln did not ask Americans to be distraught over the more than
lost during the Civil War, nor distressed over the damage to
commerce. Instead, in a time of war, he asked the American
people to acknowledge
the gracious gifts of God.
During our time of trials, should we not do the same? Being
thankful, even for
small things, allows us to be receptive and open. We are
there are good things in life. When we are upset and demanding,
we focus on the
bad and shut out the possibilities of good, gifts and hope.
We should remember our duty as noted by Washington "to
providence of Almighty God and to obey His will, to be grateful
benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor."
By giving thanks for what we have, we will begin to be able to
dream of what
might be. This optimism will then give way to action and
This year, I asked many of my friends and family to share with
me what they were
thankful for. The majority of the answers cited health, family
and friends. A
few included the ability to work in areas they love. What I did
not hear was
thankfulness for dreams.
We should be thankful for dreams.
By being thankful, we can relax and be open to the wider, more
patterns and possibilities that emerge daily in our lives.
We can imagine what could be.
For that, let us give thanks.
And let us continue to have faith and dream of what could be.
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