There are many things about Thanksgiving that fascinate me. First, that we as a nation set apart one day each year to dedicate ourselves solely to the three F's -Food, Family and Football. Secondly, I am fascinated by the intricately layered rainbow Jello that my wife manages to create each year. It is as much a work of art as it is delicious.
What fascinates me most about Thanksgiving, however, is the fact that it was first instituted and made a national holiday during perhaps the most trying time in American history. You would think Thanksgiving would be a product of the 50's what with its preponderance of Dads sleeping on the couch all afternoon while mom is in the kitchen doing the dishes. But no, Thanksgiving is not a product of the 50's. You might think Thanksgiving would be a product of those first pilgrims and their Native American buddies, but alas, they only serve as a nice back story.
In reality, Thanksgiving was first instituted in the midst of the American Civil War. Think about that. Thousands of men had died and millions more would endure the scars of battle that last a lifetime. Brothers were literally being pitted against brothers. All of the nation's best resources were being dedicated towards a war amongst with ourselves and our President decided to set aside a day to give thanks. What??
Despite the fear and uncertainty of the time, Abraham Lincoln had the vision and foresight to see the many ways in which our nation was being blessed. He managed to see through the blood and fog of war and witness a benevolent hand blessing a nation and its people.
In a time of war at home, he was thankful for the relative peace abroad. In a time when the fields of battle yielded so many victims, he was thankful for the fields at home which yielded so much fruit. And of these many blessings he stated:
"No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens."
While the only brothers being pitted against brothers this Thanksgiving will be on the flag football field, there is no doubt that America is still going through a bit of a rough spot. How much more than should we be thankful for the things that we do have. Consider the many things I am thankful for this year:
I am thankful to live in a country where a man by the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected president. This gives hope to all the unfortunately named Richard Heads and Fred Frank Funks that exist out there.
I am thankful to have a daughter who is not old enough to like Hanna Montana. Egads that music is horrible.
I am thankful to have a family who, despite all my glaring faults, still likes having me around sometimes.
I am thankful live in a country with such an abundance of food that we make reality TV shows dedicated to watching fat people weigh themselves.
I am thankful to live in a country where 6% unemployment sets off pandemonium. In France they have a saying about an unemployment rate so relatively low "C'est Imposible!"
I am thankful for a DVR. I am now so used to fast forwarding through commercials that whenever I am watching live TV, I still instinctively grab the remote any time a commercial comes on. It is a serious condition I call "DVRthritis."
I am thankful to live in a country that was able to look passed the color of a man's skin when selecting a president. Now if only we hadn't looked passed his inexperience and blatant political pandering.
I am thankful for a car that runs. If you knew my history with cars, you would know how much this means to me.
I am thankful for a home that is actually increasing in value. The French have a term for that as well, it is called "Texas."
I…am…thankful…for…my…job. There I said, are you happy!
Last but not least, I am thankful to be a citizen of a country where I can write what I like, think what I want, and believe whatever the heck it is us crazy Mormons believe in. In short, I am thankful to be an American.
Now it is your turn, what are you thankful for?